‘Thirsty’ thief targets shops in CBD

2016-01-28 12:11

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Pietermaritzburg - A cunning thief operating in Pietermaritzburg’s CBD distracts his victims by asking for water before making off with whatever he can grab.

Two small businesses gave similar descriptions of a man who came up to them asking for water, but while they were trying to assist him, he allegedly stole items from their shops.

Best Blinds owner Amin Dadabhay said the man — whom he described as about 1,5 metres tall, fluent in English and slimly built — walked into his shop on Princess Street on Saturday.

Dadabhay said the man was posing as a customer inquiring about blinds, when he asked for water.

Dadabhay left the man unattended for under a minute and, when he returned, he discovered his receptionist’s laptop was missing and the man had vanished.

“We treat everyone with respect as a potential customer and have trust in them. This was unexpected,” he said.

On Friday last week, a day before Dadabhay’s incident, Alan Pillay, who works as an auto-electrician at Lotus Auto Electrical on St Andrew’s Street, said he experienced a similar incident.

However, in this case the man’s attempted theft was foiled by a security guard.

Pillay said a man, who fitted the same description, came to their workshop and asked them to fill his water bottle.

When his bottle was filled and returned to him, the man sat opposite the workshop, drank his water and returned for a refill.

Pillay said they had asked the man to leave.

About 15 minutes later, Pillay said they spotted a peculiar shadow on the side of the workshop and found the man trying to steal a toaster from the staff kitchen.

A security guard gave chase. The man dropped the toaster while fleeing and managed to escape.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  theft

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