Rental scam artist bust

2011-07-30 00:00

A MAN, who has allegedly been conning people in search of rental accommodation, has been arrested and more of his alleged victims have come forward to describe how he duped them.

The suspect, Marc du Plooy, is accused of promising people properties to rent and then disappearing.

He was granted R20 000 bail by a Hillcrest magistrate.

One of his alleged victims, Rich Crouch, a Democratic Alliance councillor in Hillcrest, said he lost R4 450 to Du Plooy.

Crouch said he and his wife were looking for a property to rent and his wife came across an advert on the Gumtree website and followed the link.

“He lists a legitimate house for rent using Gumtree.co.za, property.brick7.co.za, as well as other Internet sites. He presents a good deal with reduced rent and usually extras such as garden and pool service and DStv included. He takes an ‘admin fee’ and as much of the deposit as he can and then disappears.

“He gave us a discount of R1 000 after he took us to the property in Gillitts near Hillcrest. He asked for an admin fee of R450 and R4 000 deposit, stating that a number of people wanted to rent the property,” explained Crouch.

He said after paying the deposit they never heard from Du Plooy and have since discovered he had let them into the house without the consent of the owner. Crouch reported the matter to the police.

Du Plooy is alleged to have been scamming people in the Durban area for a number of years.

Since his arrest more victims have come forward.

Hillcrest police confirmed that the number of cases lodged against him is escalating at various stations around Durban.

“The number of cases I can remember is about seven and this is escalating. Anyone who has fallen victim to Mr du Plooy must contact their nearest police station,” said Hillcrest police spokesperson Warrant Officer Sbusiso Sithole.

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