MEC Nkosi-Malobane welcomes arrest of syndicate allegedly involved in cellphone battery tower theft
Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane has welcomed the arrest of three alleged members of a syndicate accused of stealing batteries from cellphone towers belonging to MTN and Vodacom.
The three suspects were arrested on Wednesday in Garsfontein‚ Pretoria East. About 16 Vodacom batteries and 24 MTN batteries were stolen from Carletonville.
Nkosi-Malobane said the arrests followed an integrated law enforcement operation conducted by Gauteng Organised Crime together with private security companies‚ the South African Police Service (SAPS) K9 Unit and flying squad after a tip off regarding the syndicate that is stealing batteries from cellphone towers and selling them to neighbouring countries.
“During the operation one house in Garsfontein was searched and the batteries were positively identified by members of Vodacom and MTN cellphone companies. The batteries are valued at a whopping amount of R240‚000. A white Ford Ranger double cab bakkie which was used to transport batteries was confiscated and handed over to Garsfontein SAPS. The three suspects linked to the batteries theft syndicate are currently detained at Garsfontein SAPS‚” Nkosi-Malobane said.
She added: “I am delighted that the partnership between the private security companies and law enforcement agencies in Gauteng is beginning to yield desirable results. The latest arrest of the suspects linked to syndicate cellphone batteries theft is a welcome relief. Cellphone companies have been robbed several times and huge amount of money was lost due to this kind of thefts.
“I am confident that with the evidence at police’s disposal they will be able to present a water-tight case to ensure that these suspects are convicted and receive the highest possible terms behind bars. It is important that our law enforcement agencies should work around the clock to make life difficult for criminals in Gauteng.”