Wanted: ‘charming’ robber who preys on models

2011-09-26 00:00

THE Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal are on the hunt for a serial offender who allegedly preys on young women who aspire to become models.

Police have also obtained a warrant for his arrest for rape, fraud and kidnapping.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the man used the name Nathan Bradley Cleopants when he was charged for fraud, but he has also used the aliases of Thomas Bester and Magagula, among many others.

Naicker described Bester as a charming, good-looking man in his early twenties.

“He has on many occasions advertised on the Internet for young models to pursue a career in modelling and to be present at major upcoming events,” he said.

Naicker said Bester travels with them from one part of the country to another and makes the victims pay for his and their expenses, promising to reimburse them once they reach their destination.

“He makes them book into hotels or bed-and-breakfasts for a few days. He takes their laptops, iPods and cellphones away, saying he needs to have them scanned for security reasons or that he needs their undivided attention,” he said.

The man then vanishes, does not settle his hotel bill and steals the unsuspecting girls’ valuables.

“In August a young model responded to one of his many e-mails and together with her boyfriend met the suspect in the foyer of a building at Auckland Park, Johannesburg,” said Naicker.

He conned both of them into allowing the girl to travel in her car to Durban.

He allegedly made her drive directly to the City Lodge in Umhlanga Rocks, where he made her shower, dress up and do some modelling.

Naicker said he tied her up, cut her face and raped her before vanishing with her valuables.

“Just a few days later another young model and her mother responded to an Internet advertisement placed by Thomas Bester.

“He also managed to convince the mother to allow her daughter to travel with him from Johannesburg to Cape Town on a bus,” he said.

En route to Cape Town the girl was alerted by friends about who she was accompanying. She managed to escape unharmed at a Bellville bus stop.

Naicker said that at this stage Bester is wanted for cases of rape, fraud and kidnapping. People with information are asked to call Lieutenant-Colonel Anton Booysen of the Hawks in Durban at 082 567 4187.

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