Lethiwe Makhanya
Journalist
3 minute read
22 Oct 2020
07:20

Sly Samaritan uses mystery potion to rob Pietermaritzburg woman

Lethiwe Makhanya

“I do not want it to happen to someone else.” These are the words of a 75-year- old woman from Oribi Village who on Tuesday described how she was drugged in her own home by a thief pretending to be a good Samaritan. He came bearing a gift of six pillows, she said.

  • Woman robbed by man who used a ‘very strong substance’ that made her woozy
  • He said he would weigh her copper coins and pay her the value, and clean her jewellery
  • She and her family were attacked by an axe-wielding man previously

“I do not want it to happen to someone else.”

These are the words of a 75-year- old woman from Oribi Village who on Tuesday described how she was drugged in her own home by a thief pretending to be a good Samaritan. He came bearing a gift of six pillows, she said.

Rita Westpfaha was coming back from shopping on Saturday when the man approached her with the “gift”.

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Though she did not know him, she accepted the pillows as she said there were often people coming around with giveaways in her area.

He seemed “nice” and she had let him into the house. “I thought it was my lucky day until he took out a small bottle with a very strong substance.”

Westpfaha said the smell from the bottle made her “dizzy and confused”.

“At that moment I was so confused and not thinking straight. He asked for more jewellery and when I told him that I do not have more he went to my bedroom to look for himself. I was now struggling to walk.”
Rita Westpfaha, theft victim

“He asked if I have copper coins in the house and I said yes. He said I must give them to him so that he can weigh it and pay me. He looked so genuine because he also had his small weighing machine with him,” she said.

Westpfaha said the man also offered to clean her jewellery and removed the gold chain she wore from her neck, gold bracelet and two rings, which he put in the bottle.

“At that moment I was so confused and not thinking straight. He asked for more jewellery and when I told him that I do not have more he went to my bedroom to look for himself. I was now struggling to walk.”

“This man needs to be stopped before he can rob more people using the same strategy.”
Rita Westpfaha

Westpfaha said she had followed him to the bedroom and saw him opening drawers but he found nothing. He took three cellphones from the house.

She said she does not know why she allowed him to go to her room or remove her jewellery.

She said she still feels unwell and her head is “not alright”.

“I am speaking out because I do not want this to happen to someone else. This man needs to be stopped before he can rob more people using the same strategy.”

Westpfaha said it had taken hours for her mind to clear. She said the man told her he was going to his car to fetch money to pay her for her copper coins, but never returned.

She reported the incident to Alexandra Road police station.

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In March this year Westpfaha, her partner Abie-Walter Smith (85) and her special-needs daughter Carol Westpfaha (56) survived an attack by an axe-wielding intruder in their home of more than 20 years.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese confirmed on Tuesday that police were investigating a case of theft in connection with the weekend incident, but said there was no record of a report that the victim had been drugged.