‘Hospital hustler’ in court

2016-12-06 12:14
The women, dressed in “Muslim attire” from head to toe, allegedly befriended groggy patients or pretended to be relatives before stealing belongings.

The women, dressed in “Muslim attire” from head to toe, allegedly befriended groggy patients or pretended to be relatives before stealing belongings. (File)

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The woman believed to be a notorious con-artist preying on the elderly, allegedly tried to escape from police custody on Monday after a brief appearance in the Howick Magistrate’s Court.

Charlene Singh, believed to be linked to several scams across the city, including the “Hospital Hustlers”, appeared in court on Monday with her alleged partner, Jeremy Chetty, in connection with one count of theft and one count of using false numberplates.

After months of allegedly pulling off numerous scams which involved stealing from the sick and elderly, Singh and Chetty were traced to Westville prison after being arrested in Durban on November 30 for possession of cocaine.

The two allegedly gave false names to police when taken into custody but seasoned Pietermaritzburg Hawks investigator, Captain Jageesh Devnarain “JD” Singh, had been tracking the alleged serial fraudster following her last alleged spate of scams. With their bail set at R1 000, the policeman was able to verify Singh’s true identity before she could post money for bail.

The pair appeared in Howick court yesterday looking gaunt and sallow, their clothes drooping on their bodies.

Wrapped in a black and gold coat, Singh stood quietly before the court, her shoulders slightly hunched and her hair scraped back from her face.

A source who could not be named said the couple would be appearing in court in Durban on December 7 and 8 respectively on cocaine-related charges.

Yesterday’s matter was adjourned until January 11 with more cases in Pietermaritzburg against Singh still in the process of being investigated by police.

The source said the car that Singh and Chetty used was allegedly found with address books, jewellery, and notebooks inside that were believed to have been stolen. The pair both allegedly tried to run away from police yesterday afternoon while they were still handcuffed, but were immediately re-arrested and taken to their cells. Attempting to escape from custody was then added to their charge sheet.

Police are investigating Singh’s possible involvement in the “Hospital Hustlers” scam, where two women were reported to have been stealing from vulnerable and ill patients at hospitals in Pietermaritzburg and Howick.

The women, dressed in “Muslim attire” from head to toe, allegedly befriended groggy patients or pretended to be relatives before stealing belongings.

Singh is also under investigation for alleged scams that involved a woman posing as a seller of pain relief patches approaching elderly people, which The Witness previously reported on.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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