N2 cable thieves caught red-handed after street lights go off

NICK OF TIME: Part of an electrical cable that was unearthed after thieves dug it up and cut it, disrupting the power supply to lights on a section of the N2 near the Baywest mall. Police made two arrests.
NICK OF TIME: Part of an electrical cable that was unearthed after thieves dug it up and cut it, disrupting the power supply to lights on a section of the N2 near the Baywest mall. Police made two arrests.
Image: SUPPLIED

Two thieves were caught red-handed digging up power cables along the N2 near the Baywest mall on Tuesday night.

A passing motorist alerted police to people digging up the cables along the middle island of the highway at about 9.30pm.

Because of the theft damage, a section of street lights along a  stretch of the N2 near Baywest had gone off.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said police units responded to the complaint and parked their vehicles next to the road.

“The K9 unit together with other officials walked the section of the N2 when they spotted the thieves.

“As they saw the police approaching, they dropped their spades and ran. One suspect was caught inside the ditch and the other continued running,” he said.

“The police dog Max was used to catch the suspect, who was tackled while trying to escape.”

HARD EVIDENCE: Tools used by the two men arrested for digging up electrical cables on a suburban Port Elizabeth road.
HARD EVIDENCE: Tools used by the two men arrested for digging up electrical cables on a suburban Port Elizabeth road.
Image: SUPPLIED:

Labans said a spade, pickaxe and pair of pliers were recovered on the scene.

“They had already managed to dig up the cable and cut the one side.

“There was about five metres of cable exposed and the remainder of the wire was still buried.

“They were in the process of cutting the other side when the members arrived,” he said.

“One of the suspects was also found to have Mandrax and tik in his possession.”

The two men, aged 26 and 35, were arrested in connection with several charges, including destruction of essential infrastructure under the Criminal Matters Amendment Act.

The act, which came into effect in 2016, will see criminals given hefty sentences for breaking the law.

The men are scheduled to  appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

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