Alert mall security boss helps to nab fleeing ATM fraudster

2012-05-25 00:00

A NORTHWAY mall manager helped police nab an alleged ATM fraudster.

The suspect (45) was arrested after the manager, who has been on the lookout for him for months, alerted police when he tried to con two women at the mall on Wednesday.

Said police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan: “The suspect was fleeing the scene when police arrived. He was apprehended a short distance from the mall. Upon searching his vehicle, police found what is believed to be an electronic card-skimming device and and an expired bank card.”

The suspect will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.

The victim, who did not want to be named, said that at first she was not suspicious of the suspect.

“He was well dressed and looked like a decent guy.”

He approached her after she had finished using the ATM. “I tried to withdraw money and there was no money in the ATM. As I was walking away, a guy came up to me and offered to assist,” she said.

“Although I told him there was no money inside the machine, he insisted that I insert my card again. The same message appeared that there was no money.”

When the suspect persisted the victim turned suspicious. “I asked myself why he wouldn’t let this go, and as my card came out of the machine he tried to grab it. I pulled his hands away and took my card,” said the victim.

She quickly went into the nearest shop, where she was approached by mall security, who had been watching the incident through surveillance cameras.

The security manager said he had been on the lookout for the suspect since February, after he had conned an elderly person.

“We had surveillance footage of him and I was waiting for him to make his next visit to the mall.”

He said he recognised the culprit as soon as he saw him walk in and knew what car he drove and the number plate. “I kept a very close eye on him,” he said.

The manager, who didn’t want to be named, said that after the fraud attempt he followed the suspect to the parking area and tried to keep him from leaving.

“I pretended to be a customer and blocked his car. I also alerted security guards about him and told them to make sure he didn’t get too far.”

The suspect is believed to prey on elderly people. His modus operandi is to wait for them to finish using the ATM and then approach them, pretending to offer help.

“He tells them that they must go back to the ATM and cancel their transaction because the bank would charge them. When the victims go back to the ATM, the suspect checks their PIN number and then quickly swops their card with another card without the victims knowing.”

• siyathemba.ben@media24.com

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