Con woman preys on the elderly

Rita Garber cannot sleep at night after she fell prey to a con artist.

Two pensioners have warned the public about a con woman who stole jewellery and money from their homes in Musgrave Park, Diep River.

The tall, well-dressed woman entered Rita Garber’s flat unannounced, on Thursday afternoon May 18.

The 80-year-old cancer survivor moved into the Communicare security complex 16 years ago with her husband. Since then, he has died, along with her son and daughter, all from cancer. Ms Garber now lives alone and has osteoporosis.

She said her front door had been on a hook that afternoon, and the woman had unhooked it and entered her home.

“The woman said she intended taking up one of the units and wanted to take measurements. She walked around, going into the bedroom and bathroom. I was distracted because my phone rang, but there was no-one on the other end,” said Ms Garber.

It was only after the woman left that Ms Garber realised her dead husband’s and children’s jewellery was gone, along with cash earmarked for birthday eats for her 81st birthday on Saturday May 27.

“For 17 years I’ve felt safe but now I can’t sleep at night because I see her face before me. I’m lost,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lynette Gamieldien, who lives on the opposite side of the large complex, told of how she had also fallen prey to the con woman. She only realised she had been robbed after hearing what had happened to Ms Garber.

Ms Gamieldien said the woman – whom she described as hyperactive with dark skin and hair sticking out – had stolen family jewellery from a small drawer in her bedroom. The woman measured the rooms of Ms Gamieldien’s flat and then left but returned shortly afterwards saying her husband could not read the measurements. She then asked Ms Gamieldien to measure the kitchen cupboards for her.

Communicare’s Michelle Matthee said Musgrave Park had 24-hour security, and, while there were no security cameras, foot patrols were done hourly and visitors had to sign in.

The security company had been asked to increase surveillance in light of the latest incident, she said.

“Tenants have been informed in the past, and on a continuous basis, not to open their security gates for anyone they do not know, as it poses a risk to their personal safety,” she said.

Sergeant Amanda Gordon, of the Diep River police, confirmed that Ms Garber and Ms Gamieldien had opened cases. Anyone with information can contact Detective Constable Xoleni Mrwebi at 021 710 7348, or Detective Warrant Officer Steven Young at 021 710 7350.

Sergeant Gordon said 39 municipal wheelie bins had been stolen from Musgrave Park since the start of the year.

Anyone with information can contact Detective Warrant Officer Young on 021 710 7350.