Scammers on the prowl

Be on guard

02 June 2021 | Crime

Ileni Shapumba; Inspector, “…people are buying into dishonest suggestions...”

Swakopmund


A man was arrested on charges of extortion and impersonating a police officer after he scammed a doctor (78) in Swakopmund.
According to inspector Ileni Shapumba, commander for community affairs in the Erongo region, the police received a complaint from the victim about text messages that he has been receiving.

“The doctor has been receiving messages from a man who identified himself as constable Swartbooi (the suspect), who allegedly led the complainant to believe that he (suspect) spoke to the Public Prosecutor who is asking for an amount of N$5 000 as bail in order to release the doctor’s son from police custody. The son has been in police custody after appearing in court (in March 2021) on a charge of possession of suspected stolen goods.”

Shapumba said that the suspect arranged for a meeting between him and the doctor at Puma service station in Kuisebmond where the doctor made a down payment of paid N$550.

“The suspect then arranged for a meeting at the Mondesa FNB area for the doctor to pay N$5 500 as “bail money” to him.

At this point, the victim withdrew N$8 000 and gave the N$5 500 to the suspect who then also grabbed the remaining amount from the doctor.

“On a previous occasion, the suspect demanded a new cellular phone from the doctor and then grabbed the complainant's cell phone from him.”

The suspect allegedly promised to get rid of the docket in which the doctor's son was charged.

“When the prosecutor allegedly requested to be paid another N$5 000, the doctor reported the matter to the police. The police responded swiftly through an organized covert/undercover operation on Monday evening and arrested two suspects.”

The two were caught red handed while receiving the money from the doctor.

“Upon noticing the police, one of the two suspects pulled out a knife and tried to stab the officer who approached him. It is also alleged that in the same process of resisting arrest, the suspect showed that he was armed with gun. In response to this, the police member shot the suspect in his right thigh.”

It was later discovered that the suspect pulled out a toy gun.

“The injured suspect was taken to Swakopmund state hospital where he is under police guard and in a stable condition. The arrested duo is expected to appear in the Swakopmund magistrate’s court on Wednesday. A case of attempted murder was opened against the police officer for investigation. Police investigations in both matters continue.”

‘Remain vigilant’

Shapumba cautioned the public to be wary of such scams.

“It appears that criminals have seen a gap and people are buying into dishonest suggestions. In most cases, people are conned into buying employment, a driving license and even police dockets by scammers. These are not for sale and safe or honest practices and therefore not legal processes.”

He also stated that the “constable Swartbooi” is not a member of the police force.

“We do not facilitate payments to be made to individuals and in the fashion it unfolded in this matter. Bail money authorized by court is to be paid at court during working hours or at the police station where a person should be given a proof of payment to that effect. The public should assist us in fighting crime and protect their resources by refusing to fall prey to unsuspecting robbers/scammers.”

Shapumba encouraged community members to report suspected scams or illegal activities to police to take action.

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