Fake Joburg water employee nabbed

2018-02-04 15:45

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Johannesburg - A man who pretended to be a Johannesburg Water employee in order to extort money from those owing on water bills, has been arrested, the City's mayor Herman Mashaba said on Sunday.

"The suspect, who calls himself Brian, has been operating for quite some time and extorting monies from residents whose water bills was in arrears in places like Brixton, Westdene, Auckland Park, Sophiatown, Bosmont, Riverlea, Westbury and Newlands," the mayor said in a statement.

"He reconnected water supply to houses that were cut off after being paid by the residents."

However, the City's Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) was able to turn his latest attempt at extortion into a sting operation, in collaboration with the Hawks, in order to bring him down.

The man allegedly approached the chairperson of a sectional title building – used for students housing – which had had its services cut off due to late or non-payment.

"Late last year, the suspect allegedly approached the resident and indicated that if he received R4500, the water supply would be reconnected. The resident subsequently paid the amount."

The man then told the chairperson that it would cost a further R15000 to R20000 to organise a payment arrangement with the City.

"He suggested that the resident pays him R1500 monthly to avoid further cut offs."

Further to that, last week, the chairperson was contacted on his cellphone by 'Brian' who said that the water meter had been removed from the property due to a discrepancy on its serial number.

"He allegedly requested R3000 to prevent the meter from being removed. He was allegedly paid R1000 early last week and told to collect R2000 on Friday."

The chairperson then approached authorities and the Hawks set up the sting operation.

"An arrangement was made to meet with the suspect at KFC in Sophiatown. The suspect arrived to collect the money and was arrested as he was leaving the complex with the R2000."

Mashaba said he commended the resident "who said enough is enough and reported the matter".

The arrested man will appear in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on Monday.


Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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