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Three men believed to be part of a syndicate responsible for robbing people at local ATMs and cloning cards in Newcastle, KZN, have been detained.
Newcastle Crime Fighter Task Team’s Imran Ghafoor explained that the three men were caught on Wednesday afternoon, 9 November 2022, after a multi-disciplined law enforcement operation was implemented to take the men down. “Information was received that the suspects robbed someone at an ATM on Murchison Street,” explained Ghafoor.
This saw the team jumping into action after the thieves’ vehicle was spotted travelling on Scott Street in Newcastle’s CBD
Upon stopping the vehicle and searching the men, the team recovered the following:
- R3 000 cash.
- Three bank cards.
- Two bottles of Hennessy.
- Four cellphones.
- One bank card that was positively linked to the Murchison Street incident.
The men were subsequently charged with fraud and theft, with their vehicle being booked into the SAPS. Further police investigations are now underway to determine whether the men are linked to any further similar cases in Newcastle.
Additionally, Ghafoor stressed that with the upcoming holiday season, residents needed to take steps to avoid being targeted.
These steps, he explained, included avoiding any assistance from strangers at an ATM and taking someone you trust with you when withdrawing cash.
Newcastle SAPS Spokesperson Lizzy Arumugam stated that the police were also warning community members regarding safety at ATMs. Adding to Ghafoor’s safety tips, Arumugam highlighted the following precautions:
- Take your time while doing your transaction. Don’t be distracted, intimidated, or hurried into your transaction.
- Be vigilant and conscious of your surroundings at all times.
- Never go alone to an ATM, especially when you are unsure of how to use it.
- Be watchful of people following you (on foot or vehicle) after you have withdrawn your money.
- Be on the lookout for people who may bump into you or offer you help, as they may pick your pockets or handbag. After having drawn money, be extra cautious when arriving at your next destination.
- Be sure no one is looking over your shoulder when you key in your PIN.
If a person, however, still falls victim, Arumugam emphasised that it was essential to open a case at the Newcastle SAPS.
“The SAPS is committed to creating a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa, this can only be achieved if individuals and communities cooperate with the police by volunteering information on criminals and their activities. In partnership the police and the community can act against crime together to prevent it,” said Arumugam.
Have you been targeted? Which ATMs do you feel Newcastillians need to be cautious of? Share your views in the comment section below.