Two women pose as cops: Beat, rob African migrants

Police launch undercover operation in Ashdod, Ashkelon after receiving tip about the con artists.

March 22, 2012 14:05
1 minute read.
African migrants in Tel Aviv.

african migrants in tel aviv black 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Preying on people’s fear of the authorities, a duo of women in their 20s spent the past few weeks posing as police officers in order to rob and beat African migrants in Ashkelon and Ashdod, police said on Wednesday.

Lachish regional police spokeswoman Meital Geref said on Thursday that the women would enter areas where large numbers of migrants congregate and would present themselves as police officers and begin searching Sudanese and Eritrean men. When they found money, they would reportedly say it was counterfeit and keep the cash.

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Police said that on a few occasions they encountered resistance from the migrants. In one of these cases, they reportedly pepper- sprayed the migrants and in another, they beat them with a stick.

Geref said the women were not wearing police uniforms, rather “clothes and accessories similar to those worn by police or that would seem to be like a police uniform to someone who doesn’t know any better.”

She said these included blue button-down shirts and described the outfits as being closer to costumes than police uniforms.

Geref said police were tipped off to the scam and launched an undercover investigation against the two women. She said the tip did not come from the migrant community, which she said does not file police complaints and tries to avoid all contact with police. She added that scam artists and con men exploit this aversion to contacting police in order to victimize African migrants.

The case bears a close resemblance to a series of robberies carried out by two men in the Sderot area, who Geref said posed as police officers in order to rob Eritrean migrants on at least five occasions. The two men, who were arrested in the act two weeks ago in Sderot, remain in police custody.

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