Recently two men who were accused of conning shoppers at Cape Town malls by claiming to be police officers were arrested in Parow.
Amien Thomas says he got a fright when he saw a picture of one of the suspects in the Daily Voice.
Thomas says he was scammed a year ago in Montague Gardens but could never make sense of what had happened because he felt like he was “under a spell”.
The men apparently drop money on the floor and when a shopper picks it up, the scammers, who claim to be cops, tell the shopper they are being arrested.
The victim is taken to one side, the fake cops “check” the money and secretly swop the shopper’s money with a brown envelope stuffed with newspapers.
Thomas says his ordeal came just two days after pay day when he went to Absa Bank in Montague Gardens to pay his son’s cellphone account.
He withdrew R500 at an ATM, but due to confusion about a reference number, he did not pay the account.
He put the cash and his bank card into his ID book and left the bank.
He was approached by an elderly man in the parking lot, and just then, a bakkie pulled away and he saw a bag full of money on the spot.
“It was a lekker fat bag and he mauled to pick it up. He looked around and said: ‘My bru, die geld ons kan nie hier split nie, hier is cameras’ (My brother, we can't split the money here, there are cameras). At that moment I could not think and we walked out of the parking lot. I don’t even know why I walked with him,” says Thomas.
He says they were approached by another man who flashed a "police" badge and told him the cameras picked up that he had taken the money.
Thomas denied picking up the money and showed the officer that he had just withdrawn money of his own from the ATM.
“I did not know I was a target. He asked me for a receipt. I opened my ID and showed him the money and bank card and he took it and put it in an envelope and wrote some case number on it,” he says.
Thomas said he left with the envelope but as he drove back to work, he received SMSes from the bank about withdrawals from his account.
He says in a matter of minutes, R7 000 was gone from his account. When he opened the envelope, he found that it was filled with newspaper.
He says he never gave the bogus cop his pin number.
“When I saw the picture in the paper, I said: ‘Die is die vark in die blou baadjie’ (It's the pig in the blue jacket). If I see them today I will smash their faces. It’s not right, people work hard for their money.”
Captain FC van Wyk confirms a case of theft was registered for investigation.
”There’s no arrests as yet. The investigations continues.”