Thief poses as Tatler distributor

This man may be able to help the police with their investigation.

A Woodstock woman has warned the public about a man posing as a Tatler distributor who stole her smartphone.

Gaironeesa Adonis, 69, of Devon Street, says the man – of dark complexion, and wearing a brown jersey and brown pants and carrying a hard-cover notebook and pen – appeared on her doorstep on Monday, claiming to be a Tatler distributor.

She says the man told her she could win a food hamper if she confirmed her address and told him how many people lived in the house.

Ms Adonis let the man inside. Her husband, Rashaad, and her daughter-in-law, Ghadija Adonis, were at home at the time.

The man asked to use the bathroom and then left, but a few moments later, Ms Adonis noticed her smartphone was gone from the kitchen table where she had left it.

She, her husband and daughter in law tried in vain to find the man in Devon Street. Ms Adonis suspects he boarded a taxi to get away.

Christo Diederiks, the distribution manager of Metropolitan Print Distributors, says his distribution team was not in the area at the time of the incident.

Mr Diederiks, meanwhile, heard from Ms Adonis’s daughter, Zaida Domingo, about a man who had been collecting money in the area a few months earlier, claiming it was for the funeral of a Tatler delivery man who had been stabbed to death.

“We, as a company, do not allow our people to collect money for any cause or reason, and we take a very strong stance if any of our staff is caught knocking on residents’ doors asking for money or anything from the homeowner,” he said.

Ms Adonis believes the imposter who took her phone may have been captured on a CCTV footage at a nearby bottle store.

Mr Diederiks said his company would help with the investigation and examine footage if necessary.

Woodstock police spokesman Warrant Officer Hilton Malila said police had tracked down surveillance footage of a man believed to be the thief.

“His identity will be made known as soon as the identikits have been compiled,” he said.

Warrant Officer Malila warned the public to be extra careful during the festive season to avoid falling prey to opportunistic criminals.

“People must not allow any strangers to enter their homes. Always verify information by contacting the company or ask for identification where a person’s details and photo is on display.”

Call Woodstock police at 021 442 3117.