Pickpockets targeting party-goers
Syndicates in Camps Bay
PARTY-GOERS in Camps Bay have been warned to guard their possessions as skilled pickpocketing syndicates are believed to be operating in the area. Police said frequent incidents of pickpocketing were taking place at some of the most exclusive clubs in Camps Bay, where wealthy tourists and locals party.
Last Sunday the door men and management of Karma Lounge in the Promenade on Victoria Road searched two men who allegedly had cellphones hidden in their underwear. Joseph Zamvi and Aaron Pu Nyuka appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of being in possession of stolen items. They are due back in court on February 19.
Doorman Siyanda “The Chico” Dlwenga said he picked up a camera, and was approached by a man who claimed it belonged to him. Just then a woman came up and said it was her camera. Dlwenga became suspicious and the club’s management called the police. They searched the man and found two cellphones in his underwear.
On other occasions wallets, cameras and IDs have gone missing.
The summer is the most lucrative season for venues along Victoria Road and club owners have said that thieves are aware of the type of crowd drawn to the area. Andrew Lee, owner of Karma Lounge, said the perpetrators were usually well-dressed and blended well with the crowd. “It’s guys and girls and they are taught what to do and how to do it easily. They pick the top venues because that’s where the top loot is.”
Karma posted a warning and an apology on Facebook this week alerting its patrons about the theft of cellphones on Sunday. “On behalf of Karma’s management we would like to apologise for the mass pickpocket- ing situation that occurred last night. One individual was arrested, whose brother ‘apparently’ was stealing the phones. Hopefully police questioning will get us a bit further. If any of the girls and guys whose phone, IDs, cash, cameras was stolen receive this message, please feel free to reply and we will give you all the info we have so far.”
Lee said crime in clubs was a “nightmare”. “We try to make people as aware as possible and we have a cloakroom where you can check in your valuables, which no one uses. People need to realise that these are professional gangs, trained by syndicates and we don’t know who they are.” Lee said people needed to be more wary. “If we do find anything in a club we go out of our way to find the owner and return their things. One day a German guy left his wallet behind with R3 500 and credit cards. He called and said he knew he would not get the money back but he just wanted his cards – and I told him we had everything.”
Lee urged patrons to keep their cellphones in closed pockets and not to leave their belongings on tables or couches. “Tourists leave their cellphones and credit cards on the bar or the tables and you just can’t do that.”
In the past month the club’s management caught three men in the act of pickpocketing, but Lee said there were probably about 15 incidents.
Police spokesman Superintendent Andre Traut said other incidents had been reported by local clubs and businesses in the area.
“Several similar incidents were reported between December 1 and January 14. After another arrest, for the alleged theft of a cellphone at Nando’s, Richard Mudziviri appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on January 4.”
‘They are well dressed… They pick the top venues, that’s where the loot is’