Stolen cellphones found buried under sand after early morning theft in Port Alfred
Thieves raided a holiday cottage outside Port Alfred while the occupants were asleep in the early hours of Friday morning - but their enjoyment of their haul was short-lived.
Three hours of tracking led to the arrest of five suspects and the recovery of the stolen property, Eastern Cape police said in statement. They allegedly also had abalone in their possession.
The suspects, between the ages of 28 and 39, will face charges of theft, possession of abalone without a permit and possession of undersized abalone.
Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said the suspects took various items from the cottage including fishing equipment, a wetsuit and cellphones.
“The local farm security was alerted and started to track the suspects. Members of the SAPS K9 and local SAPS were also mobilised,” said Govender.
A local farm security officer spotted items of clothing drying in the dense bush. Other items which resembled the stolen items were also found, as well as abalone.
“The unsuspecting suspects, who were 'resting', were alarmed when they were caught out,” said Govender.
“All the stolen items, with the exception of the cellphones, were recovered, and 27 abalone were seized.”
Then, “during the preliminary investigation and interviewing of the suspects, the cellphones were found wrapped in plastic, buried in the sand”.
Govender said the stolen items were returned to an “ecstatic” holidaymaker.
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