Police alert: syndicate targets city's bank clients

2010-11-01 00:00

POLICE have warned bank users to be aware of thieves who are targeting people who leave banks with large sums of cash.

Three men were arrested on Saturday and charged with attempted theft after they allegedly followed a man from Absa in Pietermaritzburg’s city centre and tried to steal his money.

They are believed to be part of a wider syndicate operating in the city.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said Godliep Janse van Rensburg (53) had hidden R40 000 cash under the seat of his car, while he popped into Federated Timbers in Victoria Road.

“An alert car guard noticed the men standing at Janse van Rensburg’s car and notified him.

“The men had parked a white VW Jetta behind his car and one man was at the door.

“Another was standing behind the car and the third suspect was waiting in the Jetta.”

When the men realised their cover was blown they fled in the Jetta.

Jeevan said an off-duty police officer, Colonel Gops Govender, saw the commotion.

“He immediately asked Janse van Rensburg to accompany him and they went to see if they could find the suspects.

“At the corner of Greyling Street and West Street they spotted the Jetta, called for backup from the dog unit and followed them.”

The Jetta was pulled over at Foxhill and the three suspects were arrested.

Police are appealing to other people who have been targeted in this fashion to come forward.

Those affected should contact Warrant Officer Calvin Adimulem at 033 845 2760 or 082 759 1120.

Janse van Rensburg yesterday praised Govender and the dog unit for reacting quickly to stop the crime.

 

TEXT BOX - Safety hints

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan, urged people to pay attention to the threat of opportunistic crime. She offered these hints and safety measures:

•Be crime conscious - be aware of crime opportunities

•If you are waiting to be collected, avoid waiting outside. Always try to wait inside a building if possible.

•Carry your bag around your neck and diagonally across your body – keeping it in front of you. Don’t carry it hanging over one shoulder.

•Put your wallet in an inside coat pocket or your front pocket of your pants – not in the back-pocket.

•Try to walk in well lit busy streets and if possible walk in a group.

•If you know or suspect that a pedestrian is following you, go to the nearest busy area and contact the Police.

•If a vehicle follows you – never try to outrun it. Turn and walk in the opposite direction and react by shouting – to get the attention of others.

•Carry change or a phone card for emergency calls.

•Hide your cell phone and don’t walk around talking on it as it will distract you from what is going on around you and you will become an easy target.

•Avoid taking shortcuts through deserted areas such as parks, empty areas and passages.

•Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and laptops and cameras in public areas.

•Avoid wearing expensive jewellery in public places – you will become an easy target.

•Avoid going out unnecessarily after hours – especially on foot.

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