Pretoria - Police are calling on all people who suspect they were scammed by so-called prophets in the Hatfield area.
This follows the arrest of four alleged con artists from Lotus Gardens, Saulsville and Atteridgeville who made off with their victims’ personal belongings while they were being “prayed for”.
Police spokeswoman Captain Colette Weilbach said the four were arrested on Thursday following numerous complaints from the public about being scammed by the impostors.
“Last month, a woman reported that she was scammed and robbed by men who pretended to be prophets in Brooklyn. They offered to bring her some ‘luck’. While one of the so-called prophets ‘blessed’ her, the others stole her handbag, laptop, cellphone and other belongings.”
Weilbach said similar reports had come in before from students who claimed the “prophets” offered to pray for them, but while their eyes were closed they were robbed of their belongings.
“At other times the prophets will offer to look after their victim’s belongings while the victim is buying water which will be blessed for good luck. The trusting person will return with the water, only to find the prophets have disappeared with their belongings,” Weilbach said.
She said dedicated investigation work led to the breakthrough and arrests.
“The four suspects, aged 45, 48, 47 and 51, will appear in the Hatfield Community Court on Monday on charges of theft. The investigation is continuing and there is a possibility that the men will be linked to similar cases.”
People who suspect they were scammed by the same men in the Hatfield area can contact investigating officer Captain Richard Mashige at the Brooklyn police station, 082 419 9145 or (012) 366 1791/2.
“The police urged people not to trust strangers blindly and to use common sense to prevent crime from happening,” Weilbach added.