'Health inspector' bust trying to scam foreign shop owners in Western Cape
A 42-year-old man from Gordon's Bay, in the Western Cape, has been arrested for impersonating a health inspector and allegedly defrauding foreign shop owners.
The man was arrested after a law enforcement officer in the Helderberg area, along with local security officers, received a tip-off that a man driving a Mercedes-Benz was targeting foreign-owned shops as part of a scam.
"He posed as a health inspector and told owners he was inspecting their shops and mini-supermarkets to see if they were compliant in terms of the Disaster Management Act regulations as it pertains to social distancing markings and screening devices like thermometers," said Wayne Dyason, Cape Town law enforcement spokesperson.
"He eventually came to a store on Main Road in Strand and provided the shopkeeper with a fake identity card, supposedly from the health department.
"He then told the owners there were a number of non-compliance issues in the store and if they don't pay him R3,000 in cash, a fine of R25,000 fine will be issued and he will close the store for three months."
Upon realising what the man was up to, the workers told him to wait for them to call their boss. They then pressed the panic button and this alerted the security company and law enforcement.
"The suspect, unaware his game was up, waited for them [the workers] to come back to the front of the store - but instead the officers arrived."
The man was found in possession of "authentic" looking documents and a clipboard which he used to fool his victims.
He was arrested and charged with fraud and impersonating a health officer.