Tafelsig fake kidnapper in hot water

Pictured here are the SAPS members who were involved in the investigation.

Tafelsig resident Shannon Lawrence, 36, who allegedly staged her own kidnapping is being held at Pollsmoor Prison and has been charged with extortion, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

Ms Lawrence appeared in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday January 11 but the case has been postponed to this Friday January 20.

According to police they received information about a kidnapping from Tunnel Street in Tafelsig, on Saturday January 7 at 1.15am.

Philippi police spokesperson Captain Lance Goliath said Jerome Lawrence reported that he had last seen his wife on Wednesday January 4, around 9.20am, when she told him she was going to the Town Centre.

“WhatsApp messages were sent to the phone of the daughter, indicating that should the family want to see the victim alive again, they must pay a ransom to the kidnappers. The victim’s cellular phone was then switched off,” he said.

Captain Goliath said on the same day the investigating officer set up a temporary Joint Operational Centre (JOC) comprising the special task force, hostage negotiators, provincial crime intelligence station duty officer and Mitchell’s Plain SAPS detectives.

He said Grabber Technology was used to trace Ms Lawrence’s phone and thereby pinpoint her location. Officers, however, were unsuccessful in their search for her when they scouted the area indicated by the software. On Sunday January 8 a ransom of R10 million was demanded and the following day, Monday January 9, Grabber led the special task force to a house in Orly Street, in Portland, but the victim was not found.

They then went to another house in 5th Avenue, Eastridge, but she was not there either.

The break in the case came, said Captain Goliath, when on Tuesday January 10 the victim was spotted near Promenade Mall. “An exchange deal was negotiated with the alleged kidnappers. Mitchell’s Plain detectives were deployed in the vicinity of a fast food outlet at the Promenade Mall.

“The victim was spotted by police and started running from them. She was then apprehended in AZ Berman Drive, Lentegeur. She was interviewed by the investigation officer and it came to light that she wanted to see if her family loved her. No other suspects were involved,” he said.

Mitchell’s Plain police station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam said various units had come on board as it was a serious and urgent matter. He said 10 police officers from Mitchell’s Plain police station had been allocated to the case.

“We had to set up a JOC and we had to make use of the resources. Members even used their own vehicles and were working without breaks.

“We would like to warn the public to not abuse resources,” he said.

Mitchell’s Plain cluster commander, Major General Gregory Goss, said commended the members for a job well done. He also thanked the community for their involvement in reporting crime and criminals.

Anyone with information on crime can call the police at Crime Stop at 086 001 0111 or at the local police station. All information will be treated as highly confidential.