Bellville water meter ‘thief’ finally flushed out

Suspected water meter thief caught in the act.

Suspected water meter thief caught in the act.

Published Apr 16, 2024


Cape Town - Bellville’s infamous water meter thief has been nabbed after he was caught in the act.

The suspect, a homeless man, was caught on Sunday in De La Haye Avenue, and taken into custody by police, the Bellville Community Police Forum (CPF) said.

Police officers were deployed to apprehend any suspect linked to the theft of water meters, a problem that has plagued the communities of Boston, Oakdale and surrounding areas for the past few months.

The suspect’s arrest occurred less than a week after residents were alerted by the CPF to a recent rash of water meter thefts in the neighbourhood, which caused serious damage to multiple properties.

According to CPF chairperson Emre Uygun, the suspect was a repeat offender in the neighbourhood.

“The Bellville CPF can hereby confirm the arrest of the water meter suspect in Bellville on Sunday morning.

“He was caught by members of Bellville’s CPF team in De La Haye with six stolen water meters found in his possession,” he said.

CCTV footage seen by the Cape Argus shows the man removing a water meter from outside a Bellville residence before making his way down the empty street.

The police did not respond to queries by the time of publication.

About 2 255 meters have been stolen and replaced across the city between July 2022 and May 2023, amounting of R3.9 million in repairs.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether more people were involved, according to the Boston City Improvement District (CID), which also previously arrested the suspect for water meter theft.

Jean Beukman, head of Boston CID, said: “Depending on the outcome from the court, if he gets convicted, we will then be able to determine if there are more people involved in stealing water meters.

“The culprit who buys these meters is still out there, he is the one who needs to be caught.”

A similar sentiment was expressed by Uygun, who said the investigation would continue.

“The SAPS haven't confirmed any scrap yards yet.

“I think the investigation is still ongoing as to whether there are scrap yards in the vicinity of Bellville,” Uygun said.

SAPS spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said that Bellville police responded to the incident and their information led them to recovery of presumed stolen property.

“The detained an adult male on a charge of possession of presumed stolen property.

“The investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident is still under investigation. Once charged he is expected to make a court appearance in the Bellville Magistrate court on the mentioned charge,” Swartbooi said.

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