Ordinary South Africans have turned into sleuths, tracking down looted items as they are put up for sale online.
Ordinary South Africans have turned into sleuths, tracking down looted items as they are put up for sale online
EXPENSIVE TASTEThis couch, which is priced from R67,999, was the subject of a meme when it was photographed at an informal settlement hours after being stolen from the Springfield Value Centre.Image:via www.leathergallery.co.zaWhile a R67,000 blue sofa looted from the Leather Gallery has pride of place in an informal settlement in Durban, the exclusive store has had other items of its looted furniture being sold on Facebook.
Hours after a wave of unrest swept through Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal — when warehouses and shops were stripped bare — looters began selling stolen items on the social media platform.But a group of about 3,300 South Africans have become online detectives, making it their mission to stop the sale of looted goods on electronic platforms.
Ryan Venter of Durban started the “Don’t buy looted goods” group by asking sellers of “bargain” electronic goods whether they had receipts for the goods posted online.“I started the group when things started to get very bad on that first Monday night. I was too worried to go to sleep in case things in the surrounding area got worse. While watching the news, well into the morning hours and having a feeling of helplessness, I thought: ‘What are all these people going to do with all these looted goods?’ headtopics.com
“I then thought there is so much stuff, they will never need everything . That’s when I realised they would try to sell the goods as quickly as possible, to not get caught with the stolen items later.”Couch costsR3,500: The selling price of a stolen Leather Gallery lounge suite on Facebook.
R17,999: It’s retail price.Venter and members of the group searched Facebook’s Marketplace for items that were “suspect”.“By suspect I mean a real bargain. We would ask them for a receipt. If they didn’t have one, we then put them on the group for everyone to see. There were so many ads that, after they got some attention, either delisted or listed the ad under ‘sold’. But my team and I had already taken pictures of these ads and this week have sent them to a task-force at Hillcrest police station.
“There have been a handful of ads that were legit but also got negative attention. I personally apologised to the sellers and then removed them from the group posts,” he said.Suspicious adverts included two brand-new 70-inch LG flat-screen TVs being sold for R6,000. Each TV usually retails for R30,000.
The group also receives tip-offs. Read more: Times LIVE »
Mother reunited with baby after kidnapping
A 7-month-old baby has since been safely returned to his mother after a hijacking in Cape Town on Monday.
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