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Wednesday, September 23, 2020
16.1 C

    Black out Saturday: cable theft

    The suspect was allegedly working with another person, but refused to divulge that information to the SAPS.

    Crime has been on the increase in our area lately, whether it is cable theft, rape or instances of breaking and entering. The Bulletin has been reporting on these crimes, but while writing this article, realised that it has become extremely difficult to keep up with all of them.
    One of the major crimes at the moment is cable theft. On Friday, 14 June, on one of the Zello channels, residents called in to inform the moderators that there was a suspicious looking male “working” on the electricity boxes.
    With a quick response, the suspect was apprehended and the SAPS was informed. The cable thief’s hands had fresh burns and scars of old burns. These scars were from previous cable thefts.
    Why were there burns on his hands? It is called electrical flash. When working with electricity, it is common to shock even though the current is switched off because of the energy that is still in the cable. With the electricity boxes in the front yards, the cables are stolen with an alternate current still switched on. This current runs on approximately 380 AC volts (less than 500 volts is seen as a minor shock). The electrical flash is caused by a neutral wire touching a live wire… thus the burns.
    It was also alleged that gunshots were fired. No shots were fired. A wall was pulled over. The suspect tried to jump the wall, but was grabbed and pulled down. The wall caving in was the sound that sounded like gunshots.
    The suspect was allegedly working with another person, but refused to divulge that information to the SAPS.
    It will cost Govan Mbeki Municipality about R11 000 to replace the stolen cables on the electricity boxes.
    After Friday’s successful apprehension, the electricity throughout town was off on Saturday, 15 June. It was unclear why until the Zello team was on the case. Calls kept on coming through on the channel, the same questions were asked: “Why is the power off?” and “When is the power back on again?”
    On Facebook Cllr Mariaan Chamberlain kept everyone updated with text messages that were sent out from GMM. The message read as follows: “Unfortunately for power to be restored will take us some time because our back-up supply is overloading as well, now we will be pushed to fix the cable that they have stolen of which it will take some time. But to be safe note that we’ll be able to restore power around 18:00PM.”
    The problem was quickly discovered by the Zello team. Behind Hendrik de Waal street evidence was found that the cable had been dug up with a shovel. A few metres away from the theft site, a fire was found that was used to burn off the cable’s insulation.
    With the knowledge of the Zello team, 4 scrapyards were visited and were informed to please keep an eye out for cables, should the suspect come to sell them. No one has contacted them yet.
    Approximately 12 metres of cable was stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning. This is the fourth time the same cable has been stolen. Two cable joints had to be replaced and one cable joint costs R7 000. It is still unclear how much it will cost the municipality to replace the cable. – Ané Prinsloo

    Black out Saturday: cable theft