Estate agent's attacker pretended to search for property earlier in the day
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Police said the 27-year-old female real estate agent was allegedly kidnapped and her vehicle and belongings stolen on Monday afternoon.
“It’s alleged that a man who pretended to search for a property kidnapped the victim, tied her hands and legs then took her vehicle,” said police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele.
Mbele said the 40-year-old suspect was arrested and the victim’s car and some of her belongings recovered.
Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, the manager of an estate agency in the area said she had recognised the suspect from a picture of his arrest, because he had visited their office on the same day.
She said the man had asked to speak to a letting agent.
“He was well dressed and well-spoken. He was advised who would be assisting him and when the agent came down, remembered her name and was gracious and polite,” said the manager.
The agent took the man to view listings of properties in the office and he asked if the agent could take him to view a property.
“She told him she was an office-bound agent and that both viewing agents were out. The agent took down his details and told him someone would contact him,” said the manager. She said he had only provided an email address.
The man was arrested shortly after the incident in a joint operation between Umhlali SAPS K9, Marshall Security, Navic and the Tongaat community policing forum.
Marshall Security spokesperson Kyle van Reenen said: “Once alone with the agent the suspect attacked her, assaulting her before robbing her of her belongings and making off with her Toyota Tazz.”
He said the Marshall Security special operations team was activated to track the vehicle after they discovered that it was fitted with a tracking device monitored by Tracker SA.
“With the assistance of others, the vehicle was spotted travelling on the M4 Ruth First highway near eMdloti, where it was brought to a stop.”
Van Reenen said the suspect was found in possession of the estate agent’s belongings and a toy gun.
The woman’s employer said she was recovering well.
Gary Nichols, spokesperson for the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa, said the violent robbery was shocking.
Nichols said while there had not been many similar cases in KZN, they often happened in Johannesburg.
“Just recently a RE/MAX agent was murdered in Joburg, and there’s also the case in Durban where the sellers were attacked by ‘prospective buyers’ who were helped by the agent,” he said.
Mbele said the man was charged and appeared in court yesterday.