Cape Town - The Parow Regional Court on Monday sentenced a Cape Town man to 150 years’ imprisonment for the theft of essential railway infrastructure, specifically computer hard drives that were utilised to determine the types and trends of crime at railway stations.
Fariane Faro entered a plea and sentencing agreement with the State after facing 10 counts of theft. Faro will effectively serve 10 years behind bars and has been deemed unfit to possess a firearm.
According to the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Eric Ntabazalila, Faro stole computer hard drives from railway stations in Pinelands, Bellville, Mfuleni, Kleinvlei, Goodwood, Melton Rose, Thornton, Wynberg and Fish Hoek. The hard drives were later recovered at a computer store in Kuilsriver.
Faro was arrested and denied bail.
State prosecutor advocate Ann Heeramun said the crimes committed were of a very serious nature.
She said the equipment stolen was utilised in determining the types and trends of crime at various train stations. With the removal or theft thereof, no proper planning could be done and crime had escalated at the various stations.
She said this led to major claims to be instituted against the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)/Metrorail as crimes against commuters such as robbery and assault could not be prevented.
Heeramun said trains had been burnt at various stations. The identity of the perpetrators could not be traced or identified and future trends could not be determined because of the items which were stolen by Faro.
Prasa, she said, had spent approximately R5 million to have surveillance cameras installed and maintained at various stations.
Ntabazalila said the NPA applauded the sentence as it showed the government's commitment to prioritising issues relating to essential infrastructure and rail in the Prasa environment.
“He (Faro) entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State and was subsequently sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for each of the 10 counts.
“The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently and suspended five years of each of the 15 years for five years on condition that the accused is not convicted and sentenced for the same crimes during the course of sentence,” Ntabazalila added.
African News Agency (ANA)