Crime/11 November 2023,07:14am/ Mpho Mokoena
Copper cable: The image provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual picture.
By Mpho Mokoena: In a joint operation, the Bloemfontein police have seized copper cables valued at R4 million and arrested two men, believed to be part of a copper cable syndicate. The suspects, aged 33 and 34, are due to make their initial appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court today, 10 November.
Sgt Mahlomola Kareli, spokesperson for the Free State police, reported that the men were apprehended by the members of the police’s crime intelligence unit at 06:00 on Wednesday, 8 November. The suspects were discovered in the midst of stripping cable wires at a quarry near a shopping centre in Heidedal, Bloemfontein.
“Initial investigations suggest that the pair may be undocumented; they were in possession of potentially counterfeit identity documents,” revealed Sgt Kareli. The suspects were arrested on charges of contravening the Immigration Act and tampering with valuable and critical infrastructure.
The arrest was the outcome of a collaborative effort involving the Heidedal neighbourhood watch, Heidedal police, and investigators from Centlec.
This arrest follows the tragic death of an unidentified man, believed to be a member of the same copper cable syndicate. The man was found fatally electrocuted, presumably while attempting to cut cables from a high voltage power line in the Bayswater suburb of Bloemfontein. His severely burnt body was discovered stuck amongst the overhanging power lines.
Lt. Col Thabo Covane, a spokesperson for the police in Mangaung, confirmed that community members discovered the body at approximately 05:50 in the morning. The body was retrieved by personnel from the Mangaung Metro Fire Brigade and Centlec.
This case underscores the dangers of tampering with high voltage power lines and the persistent problem of copper cable theft. The police’s efforts to crackdown on such syndicates are ongoing, with this operation marking a significant victory.