A cell phone is not worth your life

A young woman from Johannesburg and her boyfriend nearly ended up as just another crime statistic.
Luckily for them a Good Samaritan warned them just in time and they could flee unharmed.
This horrible ordeal happened on Tuesday, April 5.

The woman who is being kept anonymous in fear of intimidation said their office received a phone call from a man in eMalahleni requesting they go measure for blinds for his guesthouse, he mentioned they had been recommended.

“He said he knew what blinds he wanted and asked could we just bring samples so he could show us. He also sent me an address which I could see had restaurants around on the map,” she said.

Because of the long trip she asked her boyfriend to accompany her so that she does not have to travel all alone.
The woman said she called the client and said they were leaving Johannesburg.

“He called me later and asked how far I was. At that stage I was 20km from Ogies. He said it would be too late and he needed to go to the power station. He asked if I could also measure his warehouse office,” she said.

The client then suggested he would leave one of his guys at the Sasol at the Emalahleni West off ramp.

“He asked what car I drove and said the guy would wait for me there; he said he had given him the money to pay me as well. He also asked if I could call him once we arrive so his worker could speak to him and make sure he is clear with where I should measure. He also said he had shown him what type of blinds he was looking for and had given him the money to pay me for my call out and quote.”

Excited about the business that had come her way, the woman never thought that this could be a scam.

“I got to the Sasol and a well dressed guy was waiting for me. My boyfriend sat in the back and he got in the front to give me directions. On the drive he asked if I had brought samples and I said yes, he also asked if I had change as he only had R100 notes, I told him I didn’t so he could give me less money, he then thanked me. He said the warehouse was closest so we went there. We parked outside and he asked to call his boss, so I dialed the number, he couldn’t hear through the hands free of my car and then I took it off loudspeaker. He opened the car door and said I should wait and then ran.”

It was then when she realized their lives are in danger.

But just then a man in an overall came and loudly said, “He has gone”.
Shaken and scared the woman asked the man in the overall why he didn’t warn them and he replied it was none of his business.

But then in a soft voice he warned them to get out as quickly as possible and said the man who posed as the client does it everyday and his friends are coming for the woman’s car and will hurt them.

“I got out of there as fast as I could. On the way out I saw a law enforcement car and waved them to slow down. I then spoke to them and they asked if I could take them back to where it happened,” she said.

At the warehouse nobody seemed to say anything but the man who helped the woman earlier came forward and said he knows that guy comes around every day with new people and does the same thing over and over again.

“The law enforcement guys were so helpful they did what they could and directed us to the police station at the next off ramp of the N4. They also said that the police would probably show possible suspects to identify and I said that would be easy. They also asked for our details so if they made an arrest if I would be willing to see if it were the same person. They one guy seemed to recognise who the man was when I described him.”

According to the woman it did not go all that well at Vosman Police station.

“At the police station the officers laughed at me saying I was stupid to let that happen to me. I opened a case, also telling them I have the person’s number that he uses and is still using as we called it after. The officer said I could write it but it wasn’t important. He told me I would get the case number that evening.”

The woman waited in vain for the case number.

“24 hours later I called and called and couldn’t get through. Eventually we did and they told me to call back later they couldn’t find it. That evening my mother called but the officer she spoke to said that I had never been there and there was no docket. She then told them the name of the officer that helped me and he was on shift. She spoke with him and he told her that when there is a lot of work it is common they throw the dockets away, especially for stolen cell phones. She explained this was unacceptable and I couldn’t get a new number or phone until I had one. He said I should report it in Johannesburg again. The officer then said because he remembered who I was he would vouch that I was there and make a new one over the phone. So she gave him all the details. He later called with the case number.”

The woman said she realizes now that it was stupid to end up in a situation like she did. Luckily, although her cell phone was stolen, she and her boyfriend were not harmed.

“I just want to make people aware of what happened so they can be careful and not let the same if not worse happen to them.”

Capt Klaas Maloka, police spokesperson for Vosman is on leave and will only return next Monday. In the meantime Brigadier Victoria Kheswa, station commander of Vosman Police station said she has requested that the Detective Commander investigate the matter.

READ ALSO:
Foreign shop owner robbed
Victim robbed of his car and other items

  AUTHOR
Zita Goldswain
Assistant Editor

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