Unsuspecting victims are being lured by criminals in cleverly-disguised vehicles made to look like police cars, and Capetonians are warned to be more cautious than ever as police have noticed a spike in imposter cops.
In a number of cases which took place this week, criminals utilised vehicles made to look exactly like police cars to commit various crimes across the city.
Police opened a case following a particular incident which occurred in Athlone where a truck was flagged down by a Nissan double cab marked as a police vehicle. Although the driver was unharmed, the suspects escaped with R3-million-worth of cigarettes.
Members of the squad that responded to the incident said that the cab had a cloned number plate and has not yet been located. There is uncertainty among squad members as to whether the occupants of the Nissan were fake or real cops.
In another incident which took place on Monday this week, police arrested a suspect in possession of an Uzi machine gun, and searched a car that crashed near to where he was apprehended. Upon searching the vehicle police discovered a blue police light. Another two suspects escaped apprehension and appeared to have been on the way to carry out a robbery at the time.
Institute for Security Studies (ISS) researcher Johan Burger told IOL bogus police pose a genuine threat and advised motorists to go to a mall or a garage in order to escape if approached by these fraudsters.
Burger also suggested staying away from deserted roads, as fake police officers often frequent these areas in between other criminal activities.
“This type of crime comes in three forms. First is fully-clothed police officers openly committing robberies, hijacking and bribes; second, people impersonating police officers who have all the markings and equipment of being real police officers; and third, those driving in private cars pretending to be cops,” said Burger.
The spike in police officer impersonators has also been worsened by real cops who have been allegedly linked to robberies, hijacking and most commonly bribing motorists.