Three suspects believed to be involved in a spate of petrol thefts in Nelson Mandela Bay over the past few months have been arrested.
Two are from Sydenham while the third is a Tanzanian national.
The men, aged between 22 and 28, were arrested by the specialist Humewood Trio Task Team at about 4am yesterday.
The Fiat Uno they were in was stopped in Parrot Street, Humerail, after officers spotted scaffolding sticking out of the boot.
“The vehicle was searched and two 25-litre containers full of petrol were found. Scaffolding was also found inside the vehicle,” Humewood police station commander Brigadier Ronald Koll said.
“The scaffolding was later found to have been stolen from a building site in Humerail.”
Koll said that detectives were investigating whether three suspects had stolen the petrol by puncturing vehicles’ fuel tanks.
“At this stage we are interrogating the men and investigating if they may be connected to fuel theft incidents,” he said.
“We can confirm that they are being investigated for being linked to several cases of theft in various suburbs around the metro area.”
The arrests come less than a week after police warned that there had been a spike in the theft of petrol and diesel – sometimes in broad daylight.
The thieves slip beneath cars, puncturing fuel tanks or pipes and making off with hundreds of rands in fuel. Police believe the thieves pretend to fix a vehicle and instead use cordless drills or screwdrivers as puncturing tools, mostly at night but also during the day in some cases.
Last month, 10 cases were reported at Humewood. Areas affected include Newton Park, Humewood and North End, but police suspect that more cases have gone unreported.