Johannesburg’s “most wanted” property hijacking kingpin – who masqueraded as an investigator helping tenants – has been arrested.
So brazen was his modus operandi‚ that he allegedly hoodwinked the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police (JMPD) into escorting him to properties that he planned to hijack‚ under the pretence that he was working with the city to investigate hijacked buildings.
“Today‚ I was informed of the arrest of Joburg’s most wanted property hijacker and his two co-accused‚ who are implicated in eight cases of property hijacking‚” Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Saturday.
“It is alleged that this kingpin approached unsuspecting tenants residing in properties around Joburg and introduced himself as an investigator. He would then state that the true owners of the properties were hijackers and that the tenants should not cooperate with them‚” Mashaba said.
“Further‚ he would instruct the tenants not to pay any rent to the owners but to him instead.”
The same modus operandi was used earlier in the year when the man and his cohorts tried‚ but failed‚ to hijack a building in Jeppestown. The property owners alerted the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) unit which roped in the Hawks and handed back the property after a day.
“It is also alleged that in the past‚ the kingpin has also utilised the services of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police (JMPD)‚ in order to be escorted to properties he wanted to hijack‚ under the pretence that he is working closely with the City in investigating hijacked buildings‚” said Mashaba.
“The kingpin has been convicted of fraud before and was also found guilty of impersonating a police officer; he has a 157-page criminal profile. It is alleged that he has been operating throughout the country and has criminal cases in Mpumalanga‚ Northern Cape and in the Western Cape.”
The three alleged property hijackers will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on January 4.
Approximately 164 buildings are regarded as having been “hijacked” in the city.
Source: TMG Digital.