Dogs catch three cable thieves

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Newcastle detectives and their canine "partners" have arrested three robbers linked to a spate of copper thefts in the area.

The suspects, aged between 14 and 48, were caught on Monday. The stolen copper in their possession was estimated to be worth R50000.

Police spokesman Shooz Magudulela said the KwaZulu-Natal police officers had been alerted to a house being broken into at Buffalo Farm.

"When the police arrived the suspects ran into the bush," Magudulela said. "The officers gave chase with their canine partners."

Magudulela said three suspects were apprehended after being bitten by the police dogs. They were taken to hospital for treatment before being put in the police cells.

"Copper cables were recovered. They had been cut into pieces and were ready to be sold."

The suspects would appear in court soon, he said.

Magudulela applauded Constable Lulu Guda with partner "Rinty" and Constable Bongani Sibisi with "Sasha" for a sterling job in capturing the suspected copper thieves.

In July they also arrested six men from nearby rural towns linked to copper wire thefts.

A businessman, who asked not to be named, told Sowetan many people had resorted to crime owing to unemployment.

"The illegal scrap yards in the area are the only thing that give people money to feed their families," he said.

Thieves have also resorted to stealing copper from tombstones, he said.

lMore than 70percent of people are currently unemployed in the area after several coal mines were shut down.