By ALKHARLEEZ ZUBIN | Apr 27, 2011
Wiped Clean: The conman carted away every piece of expensive item from Prabakaran’s unit. The condominium unit owner pointing to an empty hall after his furniture were stolen.
A new breed of con artistes are emerging in the Klang Valley posing as prospective tenants and carting away furniture items from homes.
Several real estate agents said they had heard of such incidents from colleagues.
Proprietor of T & C Realty, S. Pathavachalam said he had come across cases in Petaling Jaya and Taman Tun Dr Ismail where conmen tenants used a similar modus operadi.
According to the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) there have been several cases in the Klang Valley mostly involving foreign tenants.
“I remember one case in Ampang where a foreigner rented a bungalow and carted away the items,” Miea president Julie Wong said.
She called on MIEA members to be careful in renting out their clients’ properties.
“Make sure to check the background of tenants,” Wong said.
She was commenting on a recent incident where a conman “rented” a condominium in Robson Heights in Jalan Permai, off Jalan Syed Putra, and carted away electrical and furniture items worth more than RM40,000 that very day.
The security guards even went to the extent of overseeing the removal of the items, including air-conditioners, a television set, mattresses and sofa sets.
However, quick action by the police enabled the lorry driver to be traced in Shah Alam.
The lorry with the stolen items is now in the Brickfields police station compound in Old Klang Road.
Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid told reporters recently that police were looking for a man by the name Raj or Raju.
Recounting the episode on April 13, real estate negotiator K. Vijay of T & C Realtor said it was the first time he had encountered such an case in his 20 years of being in the business.
“I placed an advertisement in the newpapers on behalf of the owner and Raj responded saying he was a project manager in a reputed company and was looking for a place to rent.
“I took him to the unit and after viewing the place he called someone and handed over the phone to me saying his company finance department would like to issue a cheque and wanted my particulars,” he said.
The next day, the conman came and asked Vijay to meet him at the condo and issued a company cheque for RM3,600 saying the firm was preparing the tenancy agreement and he would like to move his belongings from a hotel in Brickfields.
“I was hesitant to give him the keys before the agreement was signed and the cheque cashed but he kept insisting so I handed over the keys.”
At about 2.30pm the conman called Vijay and asked him to come to Damansara Jaya to the company’s office to sign the tenancy agreement.
“He kept on insisting that I come the same day as he had to go to Tanjung Malim the next day so I drove all the way there,” he said.
The conman send the agent off on a wild goose chase while he brought in a lorry and two air-con servicemen to dismantle all the items from the house and disappeared.
He hoodwinked the guards into believing that he was the owner and he was removing his furniture as he had sold the unit.
After an exhaustive wait for the tenant Vijay finally decided to come home but not before depositing the cheque at a Public bank branch there.
“How could I suspect that the cheque was forged when it was issued by a reputable com-pany?” he asked.
But instead of going home he came back to the office in Brickfields and together with his wife and teenage daughter went to Robson Heights thinking the tenant may come back there.
“When I went to the unit the door was ajar and all the items were missing,” he said.
Vijay and the owner, K. Prabakaran, then made a police report.
“The police promised me to return the items after concluding their investigations,” Prabakaran said.
He said he was planning to sue the management for the theft and damages.
“We are paying RM300 in management fee and there is a standing rule forbidding any loading or unloading after 5pm and they must be responsible for what happened to me because it is they who hired the guards,” he said.
Jovinder Singh, the manager of the security firm in charge of Robson Heights, said his guards took down the particulars of the conman.
Guard Kamal Prikeet, 26, said he assumed the conman was the owner because he showed me the keys to the unit.
“I did not suspect anything amiss as he had come in the afternoon with the agent,” he said.
After the agent and the owner lodged the report, Sergeant Santor Singh from the Brickfields police station came over to the condominium to view the CCTV footage.
They zeroed in on the address of the lorry operator and went to visit the “lorry for hire” company in Shah Alam.
It is learnt from police sources that the driver recounted to the police that he was asked by the boss to drive back the lorry to the storeroom with all the items as the hirer was hesitant to pay the driver the charges and was making him drive from one junk shop to another to dispose of the items