An alert police officer saved a Plumtree woman from a conman who had accosted her in the city centre where she had gone to buy school uniforms.
Perry Ndlovu was arrested by Officer Commanding crime Lupane District, Superintendent Obert Ngirazi, after he had tricked the woman by exchanging envelopes which he had used in the now well-known trick where people are easily fooled into handing over their money to con artists.
In this case, the woman had handed over real money to the con artist who enclosed it in an envelope which he switched with another carrying valueless bearer’s cheques.
Ndlovu (32 ) was not formally charged with fraud, but pleaded guilty when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Sophie Matimba on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Robin Makura told the court that on Monday, Ndlovu met the complainant, Thenjiwe Ndlovu in the city centre.
Thenjiwe had gone to Bulawayo from Plumtree to buy school uniforms.
Ndlovu approached her and asked her for directions to the “agriculture offices” in the city centre.
She however advised her that she was unfamiliar with Bulawayo since she lived in Plumtree.
He allegedly told the woman he was a teacher at a primary school in Plumtree and there was a white man who wanted to buy some furniture for a school in the area.
Before they had finished their conversation, Ndlovu’s friend arrived at the scene and introduced himself as someone from Plumtree.
Ndlovu asked the pair to wait for him as he went to look for the white man, so that they would guard the property which the whit man wanted to buy, promising they would be paid handsomely for the job.
He returned with an envelope and asked Ndlovu to put her money inside as surety for the job.
Ndlovu allegedly exchanged the envelope and gave her back one with old bearer’s cheques.
However, all this was happening in Ngirazi’s sight, who then grabbed Ndlovu by the belt.
He asked the complainant to check for her money in the envelope and she discovered the bearer’s cheques.
Ndlovu was handed over to the police at Bulawayo Central Police Station but his accomplice managed to escape.