Hawks nab transport museum cleaner for theft of copper from locomotives

Stolen copper pipes weighing a total of 2,8kg were seized from the suspect, a cleaner working at the transport museum. The damage to the steam locomotives is estimated at about R215,000. File photo.
Stolen copper pipes weighing a total of 2,8kg were seized from the suspect, a cleaner working at the transport museum. The damage to the steam locomotives is estimated at about R215,000. File photo.
Image: SAPS

The Hawks have arrested a cleaner employed by the Outeniqua Transport Museum for the theft of copper from displayed locomotives.

Zinzi Hani, the spokesperson for the directorate, said the 45-year-old suspect was summoned to appear in court for “allegedly stealing various copper components from the steam locomotives on display inside the museum”.

Hani said the suspect was employed by a cleaning company that was contracted by Transnet. The Outeniqua Transport Museum is in George in the Western Cape.

“In December 2020, the Hawks' national priority violent crimes team in George received information from the SA Heritage Resources Agency regarding incidents of theft involving steam locomotives located inside the museum,” said Hani.

“The Hawks are mandated to prevent, combat and investigate incidents relating to the national cultural heritage of the country.”

Hani added: “The Outeniqua Transport Museum is considered to be an important role player in efforts to preserve national heritage objects that portray the various means of transportation used in the country's history.

“During the investigation, stolen copper pipes weighing a total of 2,8kg were seized from the suspect. The damage to the steam locomotives is estimated at approximately R215,000.”

The suspect is due to appear in the George magistrate's court on  May 26.

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