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Bogus prophets targeting students in Johannesburg

Police detectives in Johannesburg, Gauteng, are investigating several cases of theft by false pretences where students are the main targets.

The spokesperson of the police,  Captain Xoli Mbele said the modus operandi of the suspected thieves involves them pretending to be prophets and targeting students they ask if they know a random person.

“After that he will start prophesying, telling the victim that she is being bewitched. He will take the victim in a car driven by his accomplices, with a male and a female inside the car.

“One of the victims was told to go fetch her laptop and the laptops of her roommates. She took four laptops and two of her cellphones and jumped into their car. The false prophet then took her to Shoprite to buy salt and still water and waited for her outside.  When she came out of the shop, the false prophet was nowhere to be found,” Mbele said.

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Mbele offered the following safety tips for students:

  • Don’t listen to any person you have just met on the streets and who starts to  prophesy for you.
  • Genuine prophets will not tell you to go and fetch your laptops and cellphones to pray for them.
  • If you are a target of these bogus prophets, take the registration number of the vehicle they are using, the brand name and colour of the vehicle, the description of the false prophet and the clothes they were wearing.
  • Contact your nearest police station.

“Working together between the police and the community can subdue the escalation of theft by false pretense.”

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