Alleged con artist faces fresh charges

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Pietermaritzburg - Clutching a pink bible, alleged con artist Sharlene Singh was back in the dock of the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Monday.

The slightly built, self-confessed heroin addict was facing charges of theft.

She is alleged to have conned her way into the homes of elderly Pietermaritzburg residents and stolen their property.

According to the charge sheet, on January 14 Singh went to the house of Vishvani Maharaj in Deccan Road and stole two gold chains worth R35 000. Then, on January 18, she stole a thali (a piece of Hindu bridal jewellery) worth R25 000 from Mayeshwari Pillay.

Three days later she went to the house of Amladevi Hariparsad in Simeon Road and made off with an 18-carat gold chain and pendant and a mungalsutra chain (also Hindu bridal jewellery) worth R85 000.

Singh’s legal aid advocate, Nitesh Binnasarie, told the court on Monday that Singh intended pleading guilty to the charges. The case was adjourned to Wednesday.

In 2012, Singh was charged with several counts of theft in Scottsville. She stole a computer speaker, a sound system, an antique folding table, jewel-lery, including a wedding ring and gold cuff links, a sewing machine and candle holders. The items belonged to Dorothy Johnson and were worth R60 000.

She was arrested in the Pietermaritzburg city centre when she tried to sell three coins, which were stolen goods.

Singh allegedly struck at retirement homes in Pietermaritzburg, posing as a person conducting a survey among the elderly.

At Evergreen Retirement Village a handbag was stolen from the bedroom of a 75-year-old resident.

After her first court appearance on the theft charges, Singh escaped custody when she jumped out of the window of a police van while being transported from court to the police station holding cells.

She was arrested again a few hours after her escape.

She told the magistrate she was a drug addict and had escaped to get a “heroin fix”.

In October 2012, Singh pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless and negligent driving.

Initially she was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and malicious damage to property.

The state earlier claimed that she had tried to kill organised crime unit captain Marina Jurgens by trying to knock her down with her vehicle, and that she had damaged a state-owned vehicle.

Those charges were withdrawn and replaced with a charge of reckless driving.

Singh received suspended jail terms and was released, only to be hauled back into court for similar crimes.

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