Trio in court today over Kelso copper cable theft

2011-09-05 00:00

THREE men were arrested for the theft of Telkom copper cables near the Umzimai River Bridge at Kelso recently.

Theo Munisamy (26), Neville Navindren Chinsamy (30) and Sagren Moodley (36) of Ocean View appeared in the Scottburgh Magistrate’s Court on September 1 on a charge of theft.

The trio allegedly dug up about 300 metres of copper cable. In the process they damaged an optic fibre cable costing an estimated R30 000.

Police spokesperson Vincent Pandarum said the line had an alarm.

“Telkom went to the scene and discovered the cables had been dug up and contacted police.” The dog unit was dispatched and the accused were arrested.

“The accused were in the possession of implements used to dig up the cables,” Pandarum said.

Police recovered a shovel, pick and a hacksaw blade that were allegedly used to dig and cut the cables.

“Clothing and a cellphone believed to be the personal property of the accused were also recovered at the scene.”

The men have been remanded until today for a formal bail application while the investigation continues.

In a separate case Sibusiso Radebe (19) of Durban was convicted of the theft of copper pipes that were stolen from the Pennington Ski-boat Club. He will appear in the Scottburgh Magistrate’s Court today for sentencing.

Pandarum said infrastructure such as telecommunications, railways and electricity are key services in any state.

“Their destruction could amount to sabotage, which is an offence against the state.” Pandarum

He said the widespread theft of copper cables is crippling the country’s attempts to provide essential services to its citizens.

He pointed out that holiday houses and premises that are left vacant for lengthy periods are often targeted by copper thieves.

“Owners should have someone regularly check up on unoccupied premises in order to deter the criminals,” Pandarum said.

“This is a matter of grave concern to the authorities at the highest level and various strategies are being initiated to curtail it. Despite a number of arrests for the possession of stolen copper wire, cables and pipes, the problem persists and we are now seriously monitoring scrap metal dealers and vehicles transporting scrap metal.”

Pandarum appealed to the residents to call their nearest police station if they have information that could help in the arrests of thieves and help curb the widespread theft of copper.

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