A 20-year-old student, who had walked into a police station claiming to have been robbed of his laptop, was detained in Sunnyside, east of Pretoria, police said on Wednesday.
“It was discovered that he had allegedly opened a false case of robbery with the intent of initiating a false insurance claim. The 20-year-old student allegedly told the police that he had been robbed of his laptop by three armed men somewhere along Jorissen Street, in Sunnyside, last Thursday,” said Sunnyside police spokesperson, Captain Daniel Mavimbela.
“Little did the suspect know that a follow-up interview by the local detectives would reveal inconsistencies in the statement that he had initially submitted. The police reportedly found that the suspect had lent the laptop to his brother, who alleged later that it had been stolen. The duo are believed to have reconciled that the suspect [the student] would inform the police that he had lost the laptop during a robbery.”
Mavimbela said the student, who cannot be named until he appears in court, has been charged with perjury, an offence that carries a sentence of up to three years imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the police in Sunnyside are reviewing numerous cases opened in the area, with suspicion that some community members open false reports.
“A team of local investigators has been tasked to analyse the data collected from persons who report or reported cases at the police station. Thus far, it appears as if there could be several cases of robbery, especially those involving cellphones and laptops, which could be false reports,” said Mavimbela.
“Persons who intend to open false cases should begin to think twice. If fact, misleading the police with false information is equivalent to wasting the resources of our community because the police are a resource. This is the second case in as many months where a suspect was charged for giving false information to the police in Sunnyside. A review of reported cases is ongoing.”
Mavimbela said the student is expected in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.