‘Mall thief’ apologises and offers her pension

Crime & Courts

Cape Town - The fugitive granny pickpocket has been busted by cops.

The woman - who had been at large since she allegedly pickpocketed an unemployed woman in a shopping centre – was arrested and charged with theft yesterday.

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A sticky-fingered grandmother made her getaway after pickpocketing an innocent victim in a popular Cape store. Photo: SuppliedCape Town 06-02-2013 Shaheeda Jacobs and her husband  Alex Jacobs on the right speaks to the detective obout the robberry outside the suspects house in Tafelsig pix Patrick Louw story Venecia America

Her arrest came after a whistleblower - a kerk sister of the light-fingered pensioner - contacted the Daily Voice to identify the suspect.

She called this paper after she recognised the alleged dief in our article last Friday.

Arresting cops were also armed with a copy of the Daily Voice when they bust the granny at her home in Talefsig, Mitchell’s Plain.

Joan Fredericks, 63, who is mother to three children - is expected to make her first court appearance at the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrates’ Court today.

The drama unfolded at 10am yesterday when detectives confronted Fredericks at her home in Matsikama Street.

They were accompanied by her alleged victim, Shaheeda Jacobs, 42, who angrily approached her and demanded she hand over her money.

A nervous-looking Fredericks, dressed in a white cardigan, cut a pitiful sight. She admitted her guilt - and then offered to hand over her pension money as a peace offering.

“I don’t know… I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know how much money I took and I would lie if I told you I had anymore money left,” she says.

Fredericks is accused of pinching R2 800 out of Shaheeda’s bag while she was shopping at the Hyperland Supermarket in the Station Plaza Mall, in Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre, on January 26.

Surveillance footage shows the ouma skillfully removing the cash out of Shaheeda’s bag while she reaches for teabags.

In the video recording, Fredericks - who appears neatly dressed in a pink blouse and carries a black handbag – can clearly be seen putting something into her pocket before quickly leaving the store.

Standing outside her home, Fredericks agreed to explain her actions to Shaheeda and the Daily Voice in the presence of the police.

“Can we please do this inside the house?” she pleaded as she escorted everyone inside her cluttered lounge while trying to shield herself from neighbours.

“I don’t want to talk outside - please close my door.”

A swarm of neighbours had gathered outside, some shocked that their beloved “ouma” had been un-masked as an alleged thief.

One woman who did not want to be named described the pensioner as a “good and kind woman” who is well off.

“She doesn’t need to steal, she has everything she wants and lives lekker,” the woman says.

“I can’t believe this - we are neighbours for over 30 years.”

Inside the house, Fredericks immediately apologised to Shaheeda.

“I’m very sorry, I don’t know why I did that, I’m gonna give back your money through my monthly pension if you agree to it,” she told Shaheeda.

After the short interview, the police escorted Fredericks to Mitchell’s Plain cop shop were she was charged with theft.

Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut confirms: “The suspect, a 63-year-old woman, allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of money out of the complainant’s handbag while she was shopping.

“The suspect was arrested today [Wednesday] and will appear in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrates’ Court tomorrow [Thursday] on a charge of theft.”

A tearful Shaheeda says she is thankful to this newspaper for helping to catch her alleged thief.

“I’m grateful to the Daily Voice for helping me find this woman - they did more for me than cops did,” she says.

“If it wasn’t for the Daily Voice, this woman would probably never have been caught and she would rob other innocent people. I don’t care how old she is, she thought nothing of me when she robbed me.”

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