Calisto Vilanculos, 28, from Mozambique was arrested over allegations that he stole Vodacom tower batteries in Mpumalanga in 2018 then fled to Gauteng. Picture: Hawks
Calisto Vilanculos, 28, from Mozambique was arrested over allegations that he stole Vodacom tower batteries in Mpumalanga in 2018 then fled to Gauteng. Picture: Hawks

Mozambique man accused of stealing cellphone tower batteries nabbed after 3 years on the run

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Aug 5, 2021

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Joburg – The Hawks in Mpumalanga have arrested a 28-year-old man over allegations that he stole Vodacom tower batteries in 2018 then fled to Gauteng.

Calisto Vilanculos, who is from Mozambique, is alleged to have been hiding in Germiston all along where the Hawks and a security company later sniffed him out.

He was then slapped with charges from the 2018 crime.

During the search a his house, a gas bottle, cash, container keys and cutting welding pipes with gauges which is allegedly used to cut the tower containers were confiscated.

Captain Dineo Sekgotodi of the Mpumalanga Hawks said Vodacom tower batteries were stolen from the Calcutta power station in June 2018.

However, she said, the batteries were later recovered in a vehicle at Marite trust.

“The vehicle owner could not be located at the time.

“A case docket for tempering with infrastructure and theft was opened and it was transferred to the Hawks for further probe.

“During the investigation, the suspect was linked to the incident through the fingerprints which were found from the car and the matter was brought before court for decision.

“A warrant of arrest was issued against him.”

Sekgotodi said information was received about Vilanculos whereabouts at his hiding place in Germiston, Gauteng.

“The team proceeded to the identified address and the suspect was apprehended.

“He was charged with tampering with essential infrastructure, theft and fraud.”

Vilanculos appeared before the Calcutta District Court on August 4, and was remanded in custody.

The case has been transferred to Mhala Regional Court on August 12 for a formal bail application.

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