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Infrastructure crimes under spotlight

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BOTH the sale and the purchase of stolen goods are criminal offences and culprits will face the full extent of the law

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BOTH the sale and the purchase of stolen goods are criminal offences and culprits will face the full extent of the law.

This was the message shared with second-hand goods retailers and scrap metal dealers last week during an awareness campaign hosted by police in Kimberley.

According to provincial police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, the Northern Cape SAPS Firearms, Liquor and Second-Hand Goods (Flash) unit, in conjunction with Eskom, Telkom and Transnet, embarked on the initiative in a combined effort to combat crimes, particularly those that compromise public infrastructure.

“Several second-hand goods and scrap metal dealers were visited and checked for compliance,” Tawana said.

“Experts from the various departments assisted in identifying possible goods belonging to them.

“Most of the focus was on illegal possession of copper cables, railway material, tower batteries, solar panels and other suspected stolen goods.”

Tawana added that this campaign came after Fanie Isaacs, 38, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in the Northern Cape High Court late last year for the theft of earthing cables from locomotives belonging to Transnet.

“The stolen earthing cables were estimated to be worth approximately R1 million,” he explained.

“The team also sent out a stern warning against the purchasing and selling of stolen goods following the approval of the new Criminal Matters Amendment Act of 2017, which makes provision for sentences of more that 10 years for the theft of critical infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old suspect, who was caught driving a vehicle that is believed to have been stolen in Carnarvon last week, was arrested in Vosburg on the weekend.

“It is alleged that the officer saw a suspicious looking vehicle in town and he approached the driver, who was found not to be the owner of the vehicle,” Tawana said.

“Further investigations revealed that the vehicle was apparently stolen in Carnarvon on Wednesday.

“The suspect is expected to appear in court soon on a charge of possession of suspected stolen property.

“Police investigations continue.”