End of the line for railway track thief
A criminal career spanning decades was finally derailed when “Oom” Dries Marais was found guilty in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday of stealing railway tracks worth R2.7-million.
Marais‚ 77‚ however‚ will only hear his fate on April 12 when sentence will be handed down. Sentencing was postponed so a correctional supervision report can be drawn up.
A frail and tired-looking Marais was convicted on nine charges‚ including fraud‚ forgery‚ theft and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
His conviction is a result of an elaborate scheme in which he stole railway tracks and sleepers in the Steynsburg area.
To do this‚ he forged a letter from Transnet stating he had permission to remove the goods and then hired companies to dismantle‚ lift and transport the material to the Western Cape.