270514. CANT ID UNTIL PLEADED IN COURT. "Steve the Shopper" weeps after being caught at Midstream Estate in Centurion. Steve, a man targeting showhouses all over Joburg and Pretoria in order to steal easy-to-carry valuables has been nicknamed "Steve the Shopper by an online crime-fighting forum. The man allegedly calls estate agents and sets up appointments to view houses that are advertised for sale. He calls himself Steve, Birtus or Werner. While in the homes, he lifts cash and jewellery when the estate agent is not looking. 270 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Steve the Shopper hasn’t been active only at showhouses – he is reportedly also a pro at filling up at petrol stations and driving off without paying.

The man who allegedly sets up appointments with estate agents and makes away with easy-to-carry goods has now also been identified by petrol station owners as an alleged petrol thief.

The 33-year-old man was nicknamed Steve the Shopper by the crime-fighting organisation eBlockwatch after they identified him on the Facebook group “Estate agents on eBlockwatch”.

Last Friday, Steve the Shopper was arrested, but was released because of a lack of evidence. On Tuesday, he was arrested again on an estate in Centurion.

Petrol station owner Stanley Blackaller said he thought Steve the Shopper looked similar to a man who came to fill up at his petrol station in Hartbeespoort.

Blackaller said the man had sunglasses on and drove a Corsa bakkie without any registration plates. He filled up with petrol worth hundreds of rand and then asked the petrol attendant to fetch a card machine.

He then drove away without paying.

Steve the Shopper’s former employer told The Star he was fired from his job as a mining training practitioner because he kept on being arrested on allegations of petrol theft.

The man – who wanted to be identified only as Dean – said Steve took money from himself and other men to supply them with containers, sweepers and wiring, but he never delivered the stock.

“From what I know he owes people around R110 000 just on that alone,” Dean said.

Dean said he gets phone calls at least once a week from people who are looking for Steve the Shopper because he had allegedly stolen from them.

“If you look him up on Bid or Buy you will also see a number of complaints from people who have ordered things from him and made EFT payments, but they never get the product,” Dean said.

An estate agent in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, told The Star that she believes her client was the victim of the same man.

She did not want to be named, but said Steve the Shopper was in Ballito over Easter and asked to view some houses.

She said he told her that he was a farmer who farmed goats in Secunda and that he and his wife had just adopted triplets.

She said she showed him a number of houses in the R4 million range and he took pictures and told her he was definitely going to buy one.

After his visits, a client noticed a ring was missing from his home.

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The Star