Eight arrested for stealing R500,000 worth of copper cables
Eight people have been arrested in Johannesburg for allegedly stealing copper cables valued at more than R500,000.
The arrests were made on two separate occasions.
In one incident, three people were arrested on Tuesday for copper theft and bribery at a Roodepoort recycling business in a joint operation conducted by the city of Johannesburg’s group forensic and investigation services (GFIS), the metro police and the Hawks.
"GFIS received a tip-off from an anonymous caller of a truck that was loading suspected stolen copper cable at the facility. The joint-operation team raided the scrapyard and found a truck loading suspected stolen copper with an estimated street value of R500,000. The driver was arrested," said Johannesburg MMC for public safety Michael Sun.
Some of the copper was identified as belonging to City Power. An additional seven bags full of copper were found on the premises.
The owner of the scrapyard where the copper was found was also arrested for attempting to bribe law enforcement officers with R50,000.
"We have received information that the same owner had previously been convicted for copper theft and that yet another case of copper theft is pending against him," Sun said.
The three suspects have been detained at the Roodepoort police station and will appear in the Roodepoort magistrate's court for a bail application.
In another incident, on Monday, the metro police's newly launched integrated intelligent operation centre (IIOC) arrested five suspects for cable theft.
The stolen copper cables, with an estimated value of R60,000, had been cut into 206 pieces of 2m each.
Sun said the suspects had been arrested with the help of Joburg's inner-city cameras.
"Suspicious activity was spotted on the city’s CCTV network by an IIOC operator who immediately alerted the metro police. The IIOC reaction unit was on scene within minutes and chased the suspects who fled in a taxi. The metro officers were able to corner the fleeing suspects at the corner of Nugget and Jeppe streets [in Hillbrow],” Sun added.
The IIOC wants to stop crime by using monitoring CCTV cameras “specifically in the inner city”.
"In order to combat the criminal syndicates responsible for cable theft, the city introduced a specialised metro police unit whose exclusive focus will be to target these copper-cable syndicates. The work of combating these syndicates requires a professionalised approach of a dedicated unit with the knowledge, skills and networks to be effective.
"For us to win the war against cable theft, a collaborative effort is required from all the role players," Sun said.
He encouraged the public to report fraud and corruption activities through the city's tip-off hotline 0800 002 587 or at the GFIS offices at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein.