Alleged con artist on the prowl in Table View

Table View Neighbourhood Watch has urged the public to report crime to the police and not simply post about it on social media, after warnings appeared on Facebook about a con artist posing as a tourist.

“People need to come forward and lay charges so SAPS can make the arrest,” said watch chairman Grant Lemos.

Hilton Elkse, of Table View, said he had been leaving West Coast Village on Wednesday night September 12 when a man with an American accent, claiming to be a tourist, asked him for money.

“He spun some story about being separated from his group.”

Mr Elkse told Tabletalk that he had walked away from the man but had recognised him as the person who had robbed him at knifepoint two years earlier, although he hadn’t reported it to the police at the time.

Mr Elkse’s girlfriend, Meagan Essel said they usually reported any incidents on WhatsApp as their neighbourhood watch was more reliable than SAPS most times.

“I’ve noticed a lot of people on Facebook complaining about this guy. He’s been operating for 20 years already,” she said.

“The problem with reporting him is that most people willingly hand over their money and only realise it afterwards.

“Our worry is that he will get a slap on the wrist and nothing more.”

Ms Essel said she hoped posting about her boyfriend’s experience would warn others.

El-Shane Grove commented on Ms Essel’s post, saying: “This guy was in Stellies as well about a month ago asking me for help to get back to the airport, saying he was kicked out of a taxi and all his belongings were stolen. Glad I did not help him.”

On the same post, Michael Taylor said, “I’ve seen him at Willowbridge across from Tyger Valley, saying his family needs help with transport and they lost everything when they got mugged on their way to fly back to America.”

A man claiming to be a childhood friend of the alleged con artist, and who did not want to be named, said it was sad seeing his old friend had fallen on hard times and he wanted to get him help.

“I realise he has done wrong but I want to find him and help him or at least try. He made many wrong turns in his life as he came from a typical broken home. He had a troubled youth and turned to drugs to ease the pain. He went to Seamount Primary School and later to Fairmount High.”

He said his old friend had once been a great cricket player, and he had also excelled as soccer and rugby.

Table View police did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.