You may have seen some messages or screenshots of messages doing the rounds. Every few weeks they pop into your WhatsApp inbox or into your local Street chat group. While many are hoaxes or not locally relevant the warning is.
It's a trend that’s been noticed more and more often as neighbours provide personal accounts of persons gaining access to their properties under false pretences.
In the last few days in Upper Claremont, there have been two such recorded incidents, the one more serious than the other.
20/11/2018 | 12:00 | Newlands Road, Upper Claremont, Cape Town
A smartly dressed man with a white collar shirt and blue jeans entered a students digs claiming to be their window washer. When the tenants checked with the homeowner, they learned his claims were false and promptly sent him off the property. Although he was already on the property, nothing happened. The so-called window washer left in a White Toyota Corolla with the word Taxi written in red on the side. He was later seen in Constance Road and neighbours alerted the Watch group. FADT sent a response vehicle to check the area however the suspicious window washer left just prior to their arrival.
19/11/2018 | 14:00 | Ivy Road, Upper Claremont, Cape Town
Following is a word for word account from the neighbour.
“Hi. A very dark male (not local looking) rang our bell just after 2 today after I left to fetch my son from school. He told my nanny that he is here “to fix [Withheld] aircon’. She let him in and my other son took the man to our bedroom where the aircon is. My laptop was on my bed and was still there when I returned. When I returned and my nanny told me about the aircon guy who just left I immediately phoned our aircon company [Company Name Withheld] to ask whether they perhaps sent someone to the wrong address, they told me they did not send anyone. I then noticed my rings, which were on my bedside table, were missing (2 white gold rings with small diamonds and other stones, 1 gold ring with dark stone and another gold ring with pinkish stone). [Company Name Withheld] aircon phoned me back to say another customer in Durbanville had a similar experience but with guys claiming to be from another aircon company. I described the guy but they had never employed a non-local person. I do find it strange that they knew my name and movements. If anyone spots my wedding rings in a pawn shop this is what it looks like. I am obviously sentimental about them. I put the aircon's remote and the ring holder in a ziplock bag and will take it along to the police station tomorrow for fingerprints. Is Clariench our nearest branch?”
Please remember to let your housekeepers, gardeners, children or house sitters know if you are expecting anyone and only to let people in you can vouch for. Too often we see situations where people buzz people in without confirming whom the visitor is and merely assuming the person at the door or gate is a welcome visitor. If you live in an apartment block, be sure to speak to your neighbours about the above security concerns. There are cases where a neighbour simply buzzes in a person who is not a guest. This only means trouble for the rest of the block.
Image Credits: Taylor Grote, Adrea Badino