The man arrested in connection with Shireen Essop’s kidnapping is a Malawi national who allegedly sold her iPhone.
The 28-year-old suspect is set to make his first appearance in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Friday after being busted by the Provincial Organised Crime Unit on Wednesday.
After weeks of speculation about what exactly happened on the day the 34-year-old from Primrose Park went missing, the Daily Voice can reveal that kidnappers demanded a R5 million ransom for her safe return.
However, it has not been confirmed if any money changed hands.
Shireen went missing on 23 May after leaving Dairy Mart in Philippi, where she worked.
According to her family she was taken by men while driving along Varkensvlei Road in Philippi. Her Toyota Quest was later found abandoned.
On 11 June she was found at the Klipfontein Mission Station by neighbourhood watch patrollers who contacted her family.
The shaken mom of one told patrollers that her kidnappers had kept her in Khayelitsha and dropped her off in Govan Mbeki Road.
On Wednesday night, police revealed that they had arrested a man found in possession of stolen property they believed belonged to Shireen.
According to a reliable, well-placed Daily Voice source, the suspect was lured into a trap by detectives.
The source says that Shireen was kidnapped by three men who demanded a R5 million ransom from her family. She was released after “negotiations”.
The source revealed that during the abduction, Shireen’s handbag – which contained an iPhone 13 Pro worth about R21 000 – was stolen and investigators tracked the device to a property in Hanover Street in District Six.
When cops arrived at the address, they found the person who claimed they had bought the phone from the suspect.
Cops then used the buyer to contact the suspect and they set up a fake sale.
When the suspect arrived, he was arrested and taken to Cape Town Central Police Station and Shireen’s cellphone booked in as evidence.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, says: “As part of elaborate investigations into the disappearance of 34-year-old Shireen Essop and her subsequent return, Organised Crime Detectives armed with intelligence arrested a 28-year-old suspect on a charge of possession of stolen property believed to be that of kidnapping victim, Shireen Essop.
“As investigations into the case continue the arrest of more suspects cannot be ruled out.”
Potelwa said the suspect was due to appear yesterday.
Court officials, however, informed cops and the media that the suspect would only appear in court today.