Cops warn of spray and crook

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal police have warned the public to beware of a new scam involving a mysterious "disorientating" spray.

Police say the scammers, apparently operating in Bergville, target women.

They spray the mystery substance on their victims. They then become disorientated and dizzy, making them susceptible to do the bidding of the culprits.

Under the influence of the spray, women withdraw money from their bank accounts - and the criminals flee with bank cards and cash.

Police spokesman Captain Charmaine Struwig said the latest victim of the crime was a 48-year-old women who said she was made to withdraw R3000 from her account after men sprayed the substance on her.

"The victim felt dizzy and was uncertain as to what was going on around her," said Struwig.

She said the woman was told that her son was in a critical condition at a local hospital and needed money for an operation.

Struwig said that because the woman did not have her bank and ID with her, she was driven by the scammers to her house to fetch her ID and bank card.

"They drove her to Ladysmith where they withdrew the money from her account. They then dropped her off at a garage and drove away," she said.

The men made off with her ID, bank card and R3000 in cash.

Struwig said the victim was able to cancel her accounts once she came to her senses.

Bheka Nxasane from Bergville claimed he narrowly escaped being robbed by a gang using the same spray.

"They tried to spray the stuff on my arm, but I got away and drove off. I have heard of other people, especially women, being caught by these men and withdrawing money for them," he said.