'they show money then bust victims'

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Captain Manaka Raphulu shows the rope and police ID used by the gang.  11/12/2008. Pic. Mfundi Mkhulisi.  © Sowetan.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Captain Manaka Raphulu shows the rope and police ID used by the gang. 11/12/2008. Pic. Mfundi Mkhulisi. © Sowetan.

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

In what police call a significant breakthrough, two female suspects have been arrested for a string of crimes - including posing as police officers.

The women, aged between 30 and 40, were arrested at an Alberton bank's parking lot yesterday.

"They were followed by the bank's private investigators after they suspected them of foul play and they were arrested," said Alberton police spokesman Captain Manaka Raphulu.

A police identity card, money and a rope were found in their possession.

Raphulu said the women were part of a gang which has been terrorising towns in Ekurhuleni in recent months.

"The women go into a bank and queue with the rest of the customers - to see who withdraws a lot of money."

He said if someone withdrew a large amount of money, the pair would send a signal to male members of the gang waiting outside to waylay their intended victim.

"Those outside then throw some money to the ground, without the unsuspecting victims noticing, and then invite them to share the loot.

"When they picked up the cash the women would pounce, posing as police officers and "arrest" them.

"They would then take the person to some obscure place and tie them up before robbing them of their money, cellphones and other valuables," he said.

Police now hope to arrest the other members of the gang.

Raphulu said the two women, due to appear in the Alberton magistrate's court today, would be charged with possessing a stolen police identity card and pretending to be police officers.

Recently, other female criminals have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Manuel Moabelo is being sought by police after she conned 18 families in and around Johannesburg - by renting out the same townhouse to all of them.

She has been promising to hand herself over to police and repay the victims R136000 she owes them but a month later, she is still on the run.

In another case, a shebeen queen, Betty Tsie, allegedly hired four hitmen, including her boyfriend, to kill her husband while he was in Witbank, Mpumalanga.

The five accused appeared in court four months after the mysterious murder of Meshack Johannes Malapane.

Police said he was attacked at his house in the Vikela School of Industry, a centre for juvenile delinquents, where he taught. He was tied to a bed and battered with a pick handle. After that he was strangled with a rope and his body was doused with petrol and set alight.

Three weeks ago, two women and three men were arrested after they were found with stolen goods in Pretoria.

Police believe that they have bust a theft ring.

A 23-year-old woman was found in a Mamelodi West house with suspected stolen goods. She led them to another house were they arrested a man and a woman. Another man handed himself in to the police.