Women warn of landscaping poser

Rondebosch residents caught CCTV footage of a man posing as a landscaper to gain entry to their homes.

A Rondebosch woman and another from Observatory have warned of a tall, well-spoken, well-dressed man posing as a landscaper to gain entry to their homes.

The women – neither of whom wanted to be identified – didn’t report the incident to the police because the man didn’t take anything, but they fear he was scouting out their properties and looking for chinks in their security.

“When I let him in, he was asking all sorts of questions, wanting to see all around the property, which I found strange,” said the Observatory resident.

The man came to her home on Wednesday afternoon, March 21.

“He wanted to go in the house to check out the back yard side. I, like a fool, let him right in. Twice he suddenly went off into my office when I turned my back, and then said he was looking for a pen. However, he did not take anything.

“There was nothing he could have taken, and I didn’t actually let him far out of my line of sight, so he didn’t get the chance. However, we are now very concerned because if he was checking the perimeter to see if we had weakness in our security. He might return.”

A Rondebosch woman reported a similar encounter with a man of similar description who also identified himself a landscaper. She wasn’t home, last week Thursday, when the man visited, but her 17-year-old daughter let him in after he told her he was doing a job next door.

The teenager said she had followed the man around the house with her two dogs and had not let him out of her sight.

The man told her he was doing a landscaping job at the neighbour’s house and asked to go upstairs to have a look out the window.

But the neighbours later confirmed they hadn’t hired a landscaper. Their CCTV cameras caught the man entering and leaving the next-door property.

Rondebosch police spokesman Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam and Colonel Duma Ntsezo, of Woodstock police, said they’d had no reports of someone posing as a landscaper, although Colonel Ntsezo said they’d had cases of people posing as city officials. Wayne Roukema, manager from the Observatory Improvement district (Obsid), said he’d heard of robbers posing as neighbourhood watch members or city officials to get into people’s homes, but he hadn’t heard about the phoney-landscaper ruse.

“The advice we provide to the public is that they must first ask for identification/appointment cards before allowing people onto their premises,” he said.