Durban syndicate fraudulently selling homes, stealing millions in property busted

By Nathan Craig Time of article published May 16, 2021

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Durban - Two brothers, who were allegedly the kingpins in a syndicate ransacking unoccupied homes in uMhlanga and surrounding upmarket areas, before using fraudulent means to sell the properties, were arrested last week.

Paul Chetty and his brother Samuel Pragasam were arrested after they allegedly raided a fully-furnished house in Windsor Avenue, uMhlanga, and said to be worth R12.5 million.

Apart from removing expensive furniture and fittings from the unoccupied house, the brothers also helped themselves to a BMW 650i parked in the garage.

Investigators believe the syndicate is also linked to other similar raids of pricey houses in the area.

They appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court for their bail respective applications on Monday.

Chetty was represented by attorney Keegan Govender, while law firm Manoj Haripersad and Associates was Pragasam’s legal representatives.

House breaking and theft related charges were raised against the pair.

Magistrate Vanitha Amru handled the matter and granted them bail of R5 000 each.

Their arrests came via the collaborative efforts of members from the SAPS Durban North’s trio crimes unit, National Vehicle Intelligence Cloud Security (NAVIC) and Executive Neighbourhood Security (ENS).

The uMhlanga property remained unoccupied for three years, following the murder of the homeowner.

Activities of the syndicate came to the fore on May 3 when the deceased owner’s son, who asked not to be identified, noticed a broken window at the property.

He had travelled from Johannesburg to collect belongings from the house.

Hayden Conradie of ENS said valuables worth more than R2m was stolen.

“Suits from the cupboards, paintings on walls, furniture, fridges and a BMW 650i,” Conradie listed as stolen items from the home.

It is believed that once access was gained to the house, the syndicate fitted their own chains and padlocks at the entrances and door locks were also replaced.

“They had unhindered access to the property and the looting was done over 34 trips,” claimed Conradie.

Shaun Russouw from NAVIC said sophisticated technology was used to track belongings from the uMhlanga home to Chetty’s residence in Hillcrest.

“They brought in a BMW mechanic to disable the car’s locks so they could steal the vehicle.

“Using our software we found the BMW, the vehicle towing it and the vehicles hauling the stolen property.

“The BMW was found being driven in Hillcrest with a fraudulent number plate,” he claimed.

According to evidence gathered by investigators, the first incursion into the uMhlanga property was made on March 24 and this continued until the end of April.

When members of the syndicate were questioned by a Marshall Security guard, doing foot patrol in the area about their trips there, he was told that they were the new owners of the property.

The matter resumes in June.

Sunday Tribune

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