Rental scam foiled by Woodstock police

Fraudulent documents confiscated by Woodstock police.

The criminal syndicate behind a car rental scam, which has fleeced victims of more than R147 000, has been foiled by Woodstock police.

Six foreign nationals were arrested after the fraud investigation revealed that the syndicate had been using cloned credit cards to rent expensive vehicles from rental companies for long periods of time.

Spokesperson for Woodstock police, Sergeant Hilton Malila, said a bank had opened a case of identity fraud at the station and an investigation was immediately launched.

“It was also revealed that the credit card information used is from a person that is in another country. All the vehicles were tracked and police managed to arrest the occupants of the cars,” Sergeant Malila said.

During the arrest of the suspects, aged 48, 22, 33, 38, 31 and 34, police also seized several fraudulent documents such as car registrations and identity documents of other people. Police also confiscated a large amount of money that was found in the possession of the suspects, as well as seven cellphones.

“Investigations later revealed that one of the men arrested was wanted on an outstanding warrant of arrest incident for a case that occurred in 2014. All the suspects who were arrested are from Zimbabwe,” Sergeant Malila said.

The vehicles, two BMW 330s and Golf 5, were later returned to the rental companies by Woodstock police. The suspects are all due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on charges relating to fraud.

“The rental company and the regional directors of the bank were extremely impressed with the speedy recovery of their assets and suspects. The investigation is ongoing to link the suspects to more similar incidents of identity fraud,” Sergeant Malila said.

Yet another operation was held at Mascani Informal Settlement along Woodstock railway line last week, when Woodstock police joined forces with several other law enforcement agencies and community structures.

In the early hours of Thursday February 16, Mascani was cordoned off and a search operation was conducted, during which four people were arrested for being in possession of drugs with a street value of R5 000.

“We confiscated 24 plastic packets filled with tik, mandrax and heroin (unga).These sorts of operations is ongoing in order to address the scourge of crime at Mascani,” Sergeant Malila said.

Woodstock Improvement District, Salt River Improvement District, Metro police, Salt River Neighbourhood Watch, Law Enforcement, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), railway police and the Cape Town Cluster Crime Prevention Unit were involved in the operation.

Police apprehended 45 people who were later all released.