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  • Canadian tourist trying to crowdfund $3000 after nightmare ordeal in Cape Town
    Posted by on Nov 15th, 2013

    Ok so there’s been a bunch of talk and debate about a Canadian tourist, Mike Howard, who claims he was robbed of $3000 in Cape Town and has set up a crowdfunding page called Please help Mike get back to Canada. His story of the ordeal is every tourist’s nightmare and involves being robbed, gassed (yes i’ll get to that bit further down) and chased. On top of that he claims the hostel he was staying in, the Cape Town police and the CCID refused to help him. His crowdfunding page has already recieved $245 in donations, but has generated plenty of debate on whether his story is legit or a scam. Now i havn’t done any investigative journalism in terms of contacting the people involved and i’m not going to. I just wanna throw in my 2 cents and hear what you have to say. And also because he says he’s from Montreal in Canada..which many of you will know is my second home.

    Ok so here’s his story…brace yourself because it is surreal.

    “I was staying at 179 Loop Street Hostel for the week, 3,000 US dollars were stolen from me (I don’t have a South African bank account, so I was unfortunately keeping it on me, before I got back to my hostel.) I confronted the person who stole my money and I had absolutely no help with security (CCID) or the police for that matter. I tried explaining to the security that I had been robbed and I asked them to contact the police so I can file a report. The CCID were extremely hesitant to do this, because they knew the man who stole my money. I started to piece things together very easily. I explained to them that I needed the police to come to my location and they denied me about four times. I called myself and the police came 45 minutes later- As I try to tell them that I had just been mugged and that I need to file a police report, they ask me ‘why are you even here?’ (Long/Loop st) while being smug. I explain to the police officer that I am here. I explained that I was new to town and despite me knowing or not knowing where in what areas I were to ‘be’ in was irrelevant. The fact of the matter was that i was robbed. I start to realize that the Nigerian man (and his friends) were well acquainted with the CCID and the police that I thought were coming to help me.

    After the police deny me the right to file a police report, I began walking home. A CCID security card calls on his walkie-talkie and waves over across the street, where I can see a man acknowledging and putting a gun into his pants and getting into a car and pulling out quickly.

    I was chased back to my hostel, 179 Loop Street (http://www.179loop.co.za/) where you are only allowed to get in with a fingerprint. I used my fingerprint to get into the door and I saw that a CCID security guard and two men were still chasing after me. I ran in the hostel (where nobody was at the front desk at night) and automatically ran into the mens room to hide.

    I was gassed for 5 hours as they tried to get me out of the bathroom and all I could do was hold a jacket that I was luckily wearing over my face and breathe as slow as humanly possible and not move. I vividly remember during those five hours that these people who were trying to hurt me were fighting with some of the people from the hostel.I thought I was going to die in that bathroom, but at 7 in the morning, I heard them slowly start to leave once they couldn’t find exactly where I was or what bathroom I was in. I eventually came out and a housekeeper who was just starting her shift consoles me. She was the only person at 179 Loop Street that acknowledged what had happened. The rest of the employees and management have went on and pretend absolutely nothing has happened.

    I went right upstairs to drink as much water as humanly possible and I started packing my things. I was sidetracked when I heard somebody screaming on the other side of the room. It was an employee who was cleaning the room and was explaining that he still needed to ‘pick me off’ to another employee. Because of the paper thin walls, I hear a man enter the room (it was another guest, who was staying with his wife on the other side of the hall) and bravely tells the man that he isn’t going to do anything. After hearing over and over again how I need to be ‘picked off’, I grabbed my things and headed outside.”

    That’s only half of it…read the rest HERE.

    Hectic hey.

    Some folks on social media platforms however are skeptical and pointed out a few things.

    1. that Canadian tourists can’t travel to SA without a return ticket so why does he need the money to get a new one and not just return on the ticket he arrived with
    2. even if he doesn’t have a ticket why does he need $3000 when a ticket to Canada costs half that
    3. why does he not just go to the Canadian High Commission who would certainly help in this situation

    There were some other points that raised flags like the fact that his Facebook page shows updates and comments that Cape Town is  ‘so so magical’..after the incident took place. Strange behaviour for someone who underwent such a traumatic ordeal.

    That and the also that he has another crowdfunding page called Montreal, A Love Story. It’s empty, but suspicious no?

    Now in his defence Mike does state on the gofundme page that he has been speaking to the public prosecuter for the past 2 weeks. He lists her email address.

    I know some other more thorough journalists have done a better investigation and actually contacted the relevated parties involved. Will link to it when they publish it.. Very interested to hear the responses.

    What do you think?

    UPDATE: HERE is a much more concise article on the story. Including interviews with Mike Howard and the hostel owner who apparently is not as  honest as he makes out to be.

    Adam says:
    November 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

    There’s no way this is a legit story. There are just too many questionable variables. And I know it’s harsh but after looking at this guy’s facebook page, he just looks like the kind of dodgy dude any thief would want to avoid.

    Caz says:
    November 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

    This is honestly such an amusing read, but what utter nonsense! I did a reverse search on the guys image and I found that he had been looking to “move into a new room” just 5 days prior to his turn of “events”. The gumtree ad he posted sounds more like a desperate to date profile. The link to one of his 3 adverts is:
    http://www.gumtree.co.za/cp-flat-share-house-share-in-woodstock/25-year-old-young-professional-artist-looking-for-a-room-533349198

    It was also a little suspicious that his linkedin profile advertised he had stated “cohesive web presence,and building strong relationships with donors.” on one of his prior jobs…
    (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-howard/47/3ab/952)

    I hate to say it, but there are some very generous Americans and Canadians paying for this okes holiday…
    And seriously, who walks around with $3000 at 2 in the morning?

    Kathy says:
    November 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

    First off, I can’t see the police denying anyone the right to report a crime, regardless of whether they know the suspect or not.

    Secondly, it’s 2013. Does this man not own a credit card or other bank card that can be used internationally? Who in their right mind would travel with $3 000 dollars randomly on their person.

    If he did indeed have money stolen, shame for him but stupid is as stupid does.

    Bernard says:
    November 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

    The language used in the post just seems off?
    “As much as humanly possible”
    “As slowly as humanly possible”
    Just seems weird and illegitimate to me!

    Emily says:
    November 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

    This is slander. All of you who think you know this guys story you are so mistaken. I stayed at Loop Street about a year ago and it was the dodgiest place of my life. Peoples things were stolen all of the time and i only stayed there for about 2 weeks.

    And to the top commenter, he looks like somebody any thief would want to avoid?? He was the one that got attacked. And it wasnt because of his ‘naivety’. Everytime you google anything about tourist hotspots in Cape Town, Loop and Long street come up and this needs to change and THAT is the truth.

    I believe this guy and I feel fucking sorry for him that everybody is taking the piss out on him because hes alone in this. By the way, author- He is American. Not Canadian.

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