Woman 'faked abduction to see if her family loves her'
*Article has been edited
Cape Town - A Cape Flats mother, who allegedly staged her own kidnapping and attempted to extort R10 million from her family, has been arrested.
Shannon Lawrence, 36, made her first appearance at the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of kidnapping, extortion and defeating the ends of justice.
Police sources say Lawrence admitted she had faked her own abduction to see if her family really loved her.
Philippi Police spokesperson Captain Lance Goliath said the woman’s husband reported her as kidnapped on January 7, after she left for the Town Centre Mall in Mitchells Plain on January 4.
After a WhatsApp message was sent to the woman’s daughter, demanding a R10 million ransom to see her alive again, police set up a Joint Operational Centre (JOC) to trace Lawrence.
Goliath said “grabber technology” was used to locate the woman’s cellphone.
On January 9, two addresses in Orly Street, Portland, and 5th Avenue, Eastridge, were searched but she was not there.
On January 10, after Lawrence was spotted in the Liberty Promenade Mall, Mitchells Plain, police negotiated an exchange deal with the alleged kidnappers.
The woman was spotted by detectives and ran in the direction of AZ Berman Drive, where she was arrested.
The Daily Voice can also reveal that Lawrence was trapped via a social network chat with the help of private investigators from Eagle Eye Solution Technologies, headed by Paul Scheepers.
Scheepers made headlines in 2015 when he was at the centre of the “spy” saga between police and the Western Cape government, where he was apparently working in his private capacity for
Premier Helen Zille.
Scheepers and five ex-police officers formed the private eye company which assisted in three kidnapping cases in recent months, including that of businessman, Naushad Deshmukh, 46.
Naushad was abducted in November in front of his business, Khans clothing store in Hadji Ebrahim Crescent in Athlone, by five armed suspects, and was found alive in Thornton two weeks ago.
Scheepers was also called on to probe the kidnapping of Bangladeshi businessman Mustapha Goolam, 38, who was snatched outside of his Food Town shop, Lotus River, on December 4.
Two days later Mustapha was found beaten and handcuffed inside a house in Harare, Khayelistha.
Five suspects including a police officer were arrested.
Scheepers tells the Daily Voice they were called in to help track Lawrence down after successfully finding Naushad and Mustapha: “In the Khans case we found the cellphone in Mpumalanga.
“In this case, we created a chat with her, she co-operated with us and the police and met us at a point and was arrested.”
Major General Greg Goss, the Mitchells Plain Cluster Commander, said Lawrence wasted police’s resources in the hunt for her.