Real estate agency at centre of police siege

Police emerged victorious from an armed siege after using an agency’s high-tech surveillance system to outwit two alleged criminals.

Adelaide agency Ouwens Casserly became the focus of national attention on Saturday after two men allegedly broke into its building just before 5am.

Director Alexander Ouwens told Real Estate Business that the authorities were immediately alerted by the office’s security system, which is what triggered the siege.

Mr Ouwens was also alerted, prompting him to tap into the office’s internal surveillance system.

“I could turn the iPad on immediately and then basically watch it all unfold,” Mr Ouwens said. “It was like watching a Hollywood movie.”

Mr Ouwens quickly drove to the scene so he could share the security footage with the police.

“We could see that one of the intruders had a weapon and they had crowbars as well, so that really helped the police operation because clearly if they're armed in there they need to take the necessary precautions,” he said.

“At the same time, I got on the phone to the security company to work out the order of where the alarms had gone off in the building with the motion sensors, so that provided valuable information in order for the police to find where the men were hiding out in the building.

“It still took police the best part of the day to ensure the safety of the public and capture the men, but that high-tech security system was critical in helping the police do their job.”

Mr Ouwens said no staff were in the building at the time of the siege and that nothing was stolen, although the front door was damaged. The agency even managed to get through its planned schedule of auctions and open homes, even though staff were unable to collect files from the office.

The siege ended with two shots being fired and the arrest of two men, one of whom was shot, according to The Advertiser.

Mr Ouwens told Real Estate Business that Ouwens Casserly installed its security system following another break-in two years ago.

He said the lesson agents should draw from this incident is the importance of securing their premises.

“They need to make sure they're protecting their landlords’ and vendors’ information and making sure staff are protected.”

[Related: Ouwens Casserley goes sci-fi with virtual reality listings]

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