Five people have been arrested in Gauteng in the course of last week for impersonating police officers and soldiers, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said on Monday that police were alerted to the offences by members of the community.
In Heidelberg, a 25-year-old man was arrested on Sunday when community members “found it unusual when they saw the dreadlock man in full army uniform walking along Voortrekker Street”.
They then alerted the police.
When police interviewed the man, they established he was not a member of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and was in possession of stolen goods.
He was arrested for impersonating a member of the SANDF and possession of suspected stolen property, Masondo said.
In Tshwane on Wednesday, a former police reservist and two others were arrested for the same crime when police received information that two women and a man in police uniform had committed common robbery.
“A lookout for the suspects was conducted. A vehicle matching the description given was spotted and stopped in Soshanguve,” Masondo said.
He said police established the three were not police officers and discovered trays of eggs, livestock of chicken and an unwritten police docket in their vehicle.
“The suspects were charged with impersonating police officers, possession of suspected stolen property and common robbery,” Masondo said.
“Investigation is under way to establish how the suspects acquired uniforms and property that belongs to the police and the army. Further charges may be added to all the suspects, pending the investigation.”
Finally, in Johannesburg a 40-year-old man was arrested after he was found to be driving with fitted red lights and a siren.
He could not produce evidence that he is an emergency service employee and when police searched his car, they found an unlicensed firearm with ammunition, as well as traffic cones belonging to SAPS.
“He was arrested for impersonating an emergency service employee, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition and possession of suspected stolen property.”
Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said these crimes were very serious.
“These suspects deserve a hefty sentence that will send a strong message to other criminals who tarnish the names of the hard-working law enforcers and emergency service employees,” Mawela said.