By Confidente Reporter
THE Namibian Police has arrested three con artists who over the past several months were reportedly running a fraud ring using various tactics to gain their suspects’ confidence before running off with their valuables including money and jewellery.
Two women, Anna Maria Iyambo (23) and Rauha Namutenya Amadhila (36) were early Monday morning arrested alongside their taxi driver accomplice Iipinge Immanuel (29). They had been identified by several robbery complainants.
Police said that the suspects’ premise is simple; they pretend to be shop employees who approach their victims by giving information about free handouts or job applications that are supposedly reserved for the needy. Desperate, the victims are then convinced to leave their valuables in the hands of the con artists before they (victims) walk into the shops to collect the items.
Police also said that the trio has been running the operation with other members of their group across four towns including Windhoek, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo and Swakopmund targeting mostly students, young women and the elderly at busy shopping malls. There are 40 cases of theft under false pretense reported against the trio in Windhoek.
“We have had members of the public coming to our offices crying because the suspects ran off with their valuables including laptops, mobile phones, money and documents in this manner. This is theft under false pretense because they first gain their suspects’ trust who then leave them with their valuables in order to look poor so that they get free items or job applications in shops the suspect’s pretend to work. While their victims go into the shop they run off. This has been going on for several months and they have pending court cases but they still continued,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Upon their arrest on Monday, N$1 270 was found on Amadhila which was part of N$2 210 they had reportedly taken from another victim, Elizabeth Amulungu on that same day.
Amulungu was retail shopping at a Katutura Mall when Iyambo and Amadhila approached her pretending to be employees of a clothing store saying they could sell her various fashionable items at N$30 each back door. All she had to do was follow them to an isolated area where she would try on the clothes before paying them.
“They told me to leave them with my valuables including a cellphone and N$2 210 cash when I went to try on the clothes. I didn’t think much of it because they were genuine. So I did as I was told and when I came back they were gone. That is when I realised it was a scam,” Amulungu said.
A second victim, 21 year-old Tuli Casper narrated that on Saturday at a shopping in mall in town the women reportedly told her that they worked at fast food outlet where free chicken was being offered to the poor.
“They said that I had to look poor in order for me to get the chicken and that I should leave my belongings including a cellphone and handbag containing N$3 990 that was meant for my rent and other documents with them. So I left my things with them and went into the shop where I was told that they weren’t giving out free chicken to anyone. When I returned to where I had left them, I couldn’t find them,” Casper said.
Luckily police found her handbag containing only her documents.
A third victim, student Lahja Joona said that a man and women walked away with her laptop, mobile phone and documents after they told her that a grocery store where they reportedly work was giving out job application forms. She too was told to leave her belongings in their hands so she looks believably impoverished to the managers.
“I went inside asking for the job application form and was told that the shop was not offering jobs. I went back to where I had left them but they vanished. They took everything. I rushed to the police station to report the incident and learnt that I was not the first they did this too,” said Joona.
Police warned the public to be cautious of people who use different tactics to steal from them. “We warn the public to be extra careful of such people who use various ways to steal from unsuspecting victims. People should also know that there is no such thing as something for free.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015