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Woman arrested on fraud charges after claiming she was hijacked

A Gauteng woman has been arrested after pulling an alleged prank about being hijacked.
A Gauteng woman has been arrested after pulling an alleged prank about being hijacked.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

Police have arrested a 28-year-old woman for perjury, defeating the ends of justice and fraud after she reported a false hijacking and kidnapping case at Protea Glen police station, in Soweto, on Thursday. 

It was an alleged prank gone wrong for Simphiwe Mtimande who drew sympathy from social media users when she claimed on a Facebook post that she was hijacked and kidnapped on Wednesday night.

Police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said the woman was arrested earlier on Thursday after her arrival at the police station.

Thousands of social media users were left angry after finding out Mtimande had allegedly misrepresented facts. . This was after 15 hours of a social media search by friends, police ,media houses and relatives it turned out that Mtimande was just demanding attention in what was a bad prank. 

Mtimande posted on her Facebook page that she was hijacked and kidnapped on Wednesday evening.

She then later updated her status that the car had stopped and the men who had kidnapped her were arguing on who will be having sex with her.

As if that was not enough Mtimande went to insult the police on her update and said they were useless in not assisting her.

Masondo said in her statement given under oath to the police, Mtimande described how on Wednesday evening, 19 May 2021, her vehicle was taken by unknown men in Mohlakeng, Randfontein. In the statement, she said the men put her inside the boot and drove around with her for the better part of the evening.

"A team under the leadership of West Rand District Commissioner Major General Fred Kekana, comprising of senior detectives, members of crime intelligence and other police response units, that worked throughout the night to locate the "hijacked woman" swiftly established discrepancies in the supposed victim's statement," said Masondo.

"It emerged on a further probe that the said hijacking and kidnapping report was false and this was subsequently corroborated by the woman's confession that she was never kidnapped," Masondo said.

Masondo said the police confiscated Mtimande's car, which she had alleged was hijacked and her two cellphones, including the one she claimed was taken by the "hijackers".

"An immediate arrest was effected [and] the suspect is expected to appear before the Protea Magistrate's Court on Friday, 21 May 2021", he said.

Masondo said after police from different provinces including Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West noted a string of social media posts about the said kidnapping and hijacking, an urgent search party was activated and maximum resources mobilised to track the vehicle and find the "victim".

"While at this stage the motive behind this alleged fabrication is unclear, this is something that should be condemned as mischievous and malicious given the time and resources that were promptly deployed as soon as police learnt of this supposed hijacking and kidnapping.

Members of the public are cautioned to refrain from reporting false cases pushing police to deploy resources that should rather be channelled at combating genuine serious and violent crimes."

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