Three men were arrested in Lyttelton, Pretoria, on Thursday on a charge of impersonating police officers, and robbery.
Tshwane SAPS spokesperson Johan van Dyk says the arrests were made during a multidisciplinary operation.
“Reports were received of a VW Polo and its inhabitants impersonating police officers and robbing victims of their cellphones,” he adds.
Police were deployed in the area to search for them.
Van Dyk says the modus operandi is the robbers stop near their prospective victim, tell them they are police officers investigating a case and they need to see their cellphone to verify some information.
“The cellphone is quickly swapped for a fake and placed in an envelope. The robbers then give the envelope to the victim to open once the robbers are gone.”
Van Dyk says a SAPS crime prevention unit patrolling a known hotspot on Embankment Avenue spotted a suspect vehicle.
“They called for back-up, stopped the suspects and searched the vehicle. Tools of their trade, fake cellphones and envelopes were discovered,” adds Van Dyk.
The suspects will be charged with impersonating police officers, and robbery.
“The detective services are currently busy linking several cases to these suspects.”
Van Dyk says the preliminary investigation established that the suspects are repeat offenders and had previously been arrested in the area for a similar crime.
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