MARKS Mthonti, president of the Berkshire Downs/Upper Lyndhurst Neighbourhood Watch, said two separate thefts of his gate motor batteries felt personal because he was the leader of the neighbourhood watch. DOCTOR NGCOBO African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - PETTY crime has spiked in New Germany, west of Durban, with criminals stealing gate motor batteries and water meters at night.

President of the Berkshire Downs/Upper Lyndhurst Neighbourhood Watch, Marks Mthonti, thought a double gate motor battery theft at his home was beginning to look like a personal attack.

The first attack was last Sunday, when his anti-theft gate motor bracket was cut off and the battery stolen.

Mthonti mounted a new motor on a concrete slab and added a new anti-theft bracket, but on Friday he came home to another theft. The concrete slab was broken, the steel bracket cut, and the battery stolen.

He has a double gate which swings out, leaving his motor outside the property.

“After the second theft, I thought it was personal because they probably found out I was the leader of the neighbourhood watch - and now they can’t do as they please, they attack me instead,” Mthonti said.

Pinetown/New Germany Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Tony da Canha said he had noticed a spike in recent weeks of thefts of water meters and gate motor batteries, mainly in the New Germany area, heading towards Pinetown.

“We can’t trace it and we don’t know what they’re doing with the water meters, but we suspect that since they have copper pipes on both ends, they’re taking those to the scrap yards,” he said.

Da Canha said it was difficult to make arrests or track the thefts because they usually happened late at night or in the early morning.

He said the CPF believed gate motor batteries were sold to informal traders who provided the service of making telephone calls at the roadside.

Yesterday it was reported that the water meter thieves had struck in Wyebank after three meters were stolen in Orchid Drive.

In May last year the Daily News reported 18 dockets of battery theft opened at Pinetown police station in two weeks.

In addition, three men were arrested after stealing 28 batteries in four weeks.

Daily News