Street-smart Bisley couple double-guess bag snatchers’ next move to recover money

2012-07-05 00:00

STREET-SMART and quick thinking enabled a Bisley couple to recover thousands of rands after bag snatchers stole a bag at a local shopping centre last Friday.

Mafiki Ndlovu was grocery shopping at Checkers in Scottsville shopping mall when a thief made off with her bag containing R7 500 she had withdrawn for housekeeping.

Instead of panicking, she called her husband, Michael, and they contacted the management of the store to view the surveillance footage.

“We saw everything — me walking into the store and the two people, a man and a woman, stealing my bag and walking out of the store.

“The store management was efficient … and gave us pictures of the culprits.”

Michael decided they should drive to the Liberty Midlands mall where he had a feeling they could catch up with the suspects.

“I am street-smart. I knew that once they did that at the Scottsville mall, they would in all likelihood move to another mall,” he said.

As they arrived at the Liberty Midlands Mall, they quickly identified the suspects by their clothing.

Said Mafiki: “I asked my husband to get a closer look because I did not want them to see me. Once my husband confirmed it was them, I informed the security guard inside the mall.”

The security guard at the Liberty mall worked swiftly and contacted the control room.

Mafiki went into the control room to view footage of the suspects to confirm they were the ones who had stolent her bag and they were arrested.

To recover her money and shopping items, she made a deal with the culprits that she would not press charges if they returned the money.

In the end she lost her bank cards and a purse.

“I am very grateful to the security guards at the Liberty mall. They acted on my word alone and they moved swiftly to arrest these people.

“Had they not done that, these criminals would have left and I would never have got my belongings back.”

Sagie Govansamy, the store manager at Checkers, said it was clear from the surveillance footage that the thieves had followed Ndlovu from outside. “She was by the fruit section when she looked away for a moment and another woman made off with her bag.

“This was a serious offence and she should have had them arrested.”

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane confirmed that no case had been opened and that the suspects were released on warning.

Muhammad Varachia, acting centre manager at Liberty Midlands Mall, confirmed the incident and said the suspects had been arrested and questioned.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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