Public warned about ‘apparent beggars’

2017-03-15 06:03

A NORTHDALE woman has warned the public about “so-called beggars” after she was robbed of her cellphone at Northway Spar recently.

Desiree Sawry told Maritzburg Fever about her ordeal.

Sawry was at Northway Spar one evening last week when a man, who posed as a beggar, approached her outside Northway Spar and asked for money to “feed his children”.

“He seemed decent.

“When I was about to give him some money he took the phone out of my pocket and fled.

“There was no one in the parking lot, but when I reported the matter to the on-duty security guards they said they didn’t see anything but one saw a man running away,” said Sawry.

When Maritzburg Fever asked Northway Centre manager Denise Govender about the incident he said they were unaware of the incident.

“We haven’t had any major incidents recently.

“Perhaps if we can get the date and the actual time of the incident, we can trace what happened as we have security guards 24 hours at the centre,” he said.

Sawry said that she had seen the man before in the area near Northway Mall.

“I’ve seen him several times at the centre begging, but I had no idea he was up to no good.

“I’m no longer willing to assist any beggar due to his actions,” she said.

Sawry suspected the man was not alone and had an accomplice.

Police comment was not available at the time of going to print, however, the SAPS warned the public against speaking or offering anythiung to beggars especially in town. There are roads that have been identified as hot spots, which included Boshoff, Pietermaritz, East and Retief streets.

Safety tips from the SAPS:

At a traffic light make sure all car doors are locked and windows are properly closed.

Do not leave your valuables exposed, they must be hidden.

Do not speak or offer something to beggars.

This is as a result where members of the public became victims of the criminals.

The criminals demand money and valuable items such as cellphone in such a way that some victims are forced at knife or gunpoint.

Hide cellphones especially when walking in the street.

While the victim is on a cellphone when walking they became soft targets because criminals approach from behind, grab the cellphone and run away.

Remember, most criminals operate in gangs.

Do not resist or retaliate if confronted.

If you need to make a call on your cell, find a safe place to do so.

These types of crimes take place in the day and night.

Incidents must be reported to the police and often, with the help of a CCTV footage, the suspect can be traced and identified positively

Perhaps if we can get the date and the actual time of the incident, we can trace what happened as we have security guards 24 hours at the centre - Northway Centre manager

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