ATM scammers who targeted tourist are caught during car chase

An accused ATM scammer who targeted a German tourist is arrested.

An accused ATM scammer who targeted a German tourist is arrested.

Published Mar 13, 2024


Cape Town - Suspected ATM scammers who targeted a German tourist in the CBD have been busted thanks to a collaboration between law enforcement officers and the Central City Improvement District (CCID).

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the dramatic arrest saw the suspects crash into a CCID vehicle in their attempts to escape on Saturday.

A common modus operandi by the scammers was to dress up in fake uniforms and tell tourists they needed a permit to walk on a certain street in Cape Town, soliciting a card payment.

Smith said as word spread about the German tourist who was scammed, members from the mayoral project and law enforcement responded along with the CCID.

“The vehicle used in the getaway was quickly identified and a highspeed chase ensued, with the suspects knocking the CCID vehicle off the road. Eventually blocked in, all four suspects were arrested.

“The hired vehicle was driving with false number plates and inside it officers found keypads used for recording their victims’ ATM pin, a twoway security officer’s radio, clothing with security branding, a fake security officer’s ID card and numerous ATM cards.’’

The hired vehicle used by alleged ATM scammers was fitted with false number plates.

The suspects were charged at Cape Town SAPS on counts including theft, fraud, possession of stolen property and reckless and negligent driving.

Smith said it was found that one of the suspects had been arrested three times in nine years for ATM-related crimes.

“The suspect continued to find loopholes in the criminal justice system that always saw him continue, undeterred.

“It’s a growing trend around the world, we knew we had to do more. Last year we began working closely with the private banking sector and receiving assistance in this regard, specifically on how to use legislation that ensures these types of charges stick.

“For the sake of furthering our enforcement in this regard, we need to keep their identity confidential, but already we have professionals within the banking sector we can call on day or night when the need arises.

“This elite unit often assists the SAPS investigators and the National Prosecuting Authority as well, helping to see justice served on those arrested for their crimes.”

Principle inspector Ricardo Meyer, of the City’s Tourism Unit, said that while the unit was small, they had established it specifically to protect the tourism industry for the metro.

“We try to police the hot spots in the area, offering assistance to our tourists where possible, but when we get intel on known suspects operating in the area or a crime that has just gone down, it’s all hands on deck and all of our members across the mayoral project work together, along with our neighbourhood watches and CIDs, to try to bring those responsible to justice.

“This is just one success for ATM-related crimes, but I know our members are still going to do many more.”

Earlier this year, scammers were also caught on camera trying to scam tourists in Green Point.

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