Sun Oct 23 05:31:24 SAST 2016

'Romeo of the malls' uses charm to snare victims

By unknown | Feb 28, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

I might have called him a knight in shining armour if my invisible antennae hadn't gone amok.

He is suave, drop-dead gorgeous, and has manners that could disarm a nun.

They call him the "Romeo of the malls" and he has robbed dozens of sophisticated women.

An e-mail doing the rounds describes him as a man who could be a model.

He often wears designer jeans and carries a cheap cellphone.

He is not scared to tell a woman she is hot, even if their paths are crossing for the first time.

The profile of the women he preys on seems to be employed, mobile, well-dressed and good- looking.

One of his victims, the author of the e-mail, works for an advertising agency. She says she curses the day she let her guard down.

As she got out of her Mini Cooper, Zininzi Mbhele, 28, found herself being escorted by a dashing young man.

"You would not have refused him either," says Mbhele, head of the creative department in her company.

He has been fluid throughout his reign of trickery.

Mbhele and the other victims she lists in the e-mail claim the man goes by the name of Thulani or Biggs.

He also doesn't hang around in the same place for too long.

But his mission is clearly outlined: Shower the woman with compliments, dine with her, go Dutch on the bill and then steal her cellphone, handbag or car.

Mbhele recounts meeting "Romeo" at the Downs in Sandton.

"We exchanged numbers and soon I was flooded with the sweetest SMSes and sweeping compliments.

"A week later we went out on lunch. He was on foot and when I asked where his car was he said it had gone in for a service," she recalls.

She says after lunch they drove in her car to her office.

Somehow her access card had been deactivated and as she was trying to talk to the security guard, several cars got backed up behind her.

"Romeo then offered to move my car out of the way to let them pass.

"In a matter of seconds, he had made a U-turn and driven away with my car and my hand bag with all my important documents in it," she says.

His list of crimes against his "dates" range from stealing cellphones and credit cards to helping himself to groceries and leaving the unsuspecting woman to pay his bill at a restaurant.

One thing all the women agree on is that he didn't try to sleep with them.

"It seems he just wants a good life at the expense of women, nothing more," says Mbali Thabethe, another affluent victim.

"I want to tell all women out there to be careful of this man.

"He is about 28 or so and though I can't remember everything about his looks, he is light- skinned, tall and very handsome and he's using his looks to rob women blind."

The one trait that you are most likely to notice about "Romeo" is his bravado.

When I met him, he simply looked at me and asked: "Where do you get your daily supply of bath milk because, girl, you have an unfair advantage over your peers?"

After struggling to brush him off, I got to my car, but as I turned my head for the seventh time, I realised he was trying to pick up another executive-looking woman.

That's when I remembered his undrawn identikit.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT