Four to apply for bail in R1.9m copper theft case

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  • Police arrested five people in connection with copper theft. One was granted R3 000 bail.
  • The arrests followed a sting operation in which suspected stolen copper wires were found.
  • The other four were remanded and expected to appear in court again next week to apply for bail.

Four people arrested in connection with stolen copper estimated to be worth R1.9 million were remanded by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

According to the Hawks, two separate arrests were made, netting five suspects aged 47 to 60.

"Authorities received intelligence about suspects delivering suspected stolen copper wire at a scrapyard in Hercules. Police intercepted a truck fitting the description at the identified scrapyard in Hercules loaded with suspected stolen copper weighing about 3.840kg," Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuo Mulamu said in a statement.

Further investigation led police to a plot near Akasia where they recovered copper wires 1 830 metres in length, also suspected to have been stolen. 

Three men, Andries Harmse, 47, Oupa Maluleke, 49, and Martins Fredericks Geyser, 60, were subsequently arrested and charged with copper theft. They appeared in court on Tuesday where Geyser was granted R3 000 bail.

READ | 5 cable thieves sentenced to a combined total of 1 250 years in jail

Harmse and Maluleke were remanded until Wednesday for their bail application.

"Meanwhile on Wednesday, police arrested two additional suspects, Frans Albert, 59, and Andries Lombard, 51, who handed themselves in at the Hawks' offices in Pretoria, accompanied by their legal representative. The two were charged for contravention of the Infrastructure Act and possession of suspected stolen copper," added Mulamu.

Albert and Lombard appeared in court on the same day and were remanded. The duo is expected to join Harmse and Maluleke on Wednesday to apply for bail.

Head of Hawks in Gauteng Major General Ebrahim Kadwa appealed to the public to report infrastructure theft to the police.

"Over the years, state-owned enterprises, municipalities, telecommunications, and mining sector have been suffering huge loses and disruptions of essential services due to attack on essential infrastructure and theft of non-ferrous metals.

"In response to this widespread scourge of attacks on essential infrastructure by highly organised criminal networks, the government, especially law enforcement sector, has prioritised the prevention and investigation thereof," Kadwa said.

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