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Copper with mettle nabs five

Johannesburg - A drive to work by a Gauteng traffic police officer resulted in a cable-theft bust when Irene Mbele assisted in the arrest of five suspects.

Mbele said she was driving along the Golden Highway on Monday when she saw a security guard chasing five men.

Officer Irene Mbele with a copper cable seized from five men who were taken to the Kliptown police station. Photo: Itumeleng English. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

She could not make out what the suspects were carrying, but did a U-turn and chased the men in her car.

When they reached the Devland informal settlement, Mbele abandoned her car and chased them on foot as she could not drive through the informal settlement.

She and the security guard apprehended the suspects, who turned out to be carrying 36kg of copper cables with an estimated street value of R18 000.

Mbele said residents initially wanted to keep the cable and resisted her attempts to arrest the suspects. “I told them that each and every one of them would be arrested, and they gave up,” she said.

Mbele said the cables had been dug up from behind a BP filling station along the Golden Highway. She said the theft of the cables had led to traffic lights in the area not working.

She said the suspects, who are Basotho and did not have passports, were due to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. They were to be charged for possession of suspected stolen goods.

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