GEORGE – A man pretending to be a police official came face to face with the real deal, when confronted by the SAPS at his home in Bolandpark, Mossel Bay last Friday.
The 48-year-old Mr Michael Jantjies had been known to play pretend regularly in the area, making himself out to be either a private investigator or a police official.
Captain Bernadine Steyn, South Cape police spokesperson, confirmed that the imposter was arrested based on a charge of impersonating a police officer as well as a charge of fraud that was set to take place in Atlantis.
On Monday, Mr. Jantjies appeared in court and is set to appear in court again today to apply for bail.
There have also been unconfirmed reports that Jantjies has at least one civil suit against him, by a George resident for impersonating a private investigator. This resident paid an amount of approximately R 27000.00 for an investigation job, that never materialized. Instead the pretend PI disappeared without a trace.
It is imperative to always request official identification from all persons claiming to be law officials. A fraudster can be arrested for the offense of impersonating a police officer based on any of the following deceitful acts:
- Verbal identification: The imposter announces to the unsuspecting victim that they are a police officer or other law enforcement agent.
- Fake badge or warrant card: The imposter, though not in any special clothes, displays a police-like badge or identification card to the victim. Sometimes a real police officer will not even be able to differentiate between the real and fake badge, as some duplicates are very similar to a real badge, if not identical to one.
- Fake uniform: The imposter wears a uniform that looks very much like that of a police officer.
- Fake vehicle: The imposter places police lights (these can be either permanently mounted onto the car or temporary lights magnetically attached to the cartop), decals, siren, or other equipment on a personal vehicle to disguise it as a police car and enable the offender to pass through red traffic lights, bypass traffic other non-emergency traffic would have to wait for, make traffic stops or even false arrests.
Much of the equipment described above is available for purchase by the general public, thereby enabling imposters to obtain the necessary materials to commit such a crime. While the equipment will not bear the name of a specific law enforcement agency, the unsuspecting victim may not notice the difference.
Therefore, should you be unsure of the person’s credentials, you are within your right to call the emergency number 112 from your cellphone to verify the details of the officer or 10111 from any landline telephone.