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Suspect tampering with cellphone tower batteries in Verulam shot dead

According to Prem Balram from Reaction Unit SA the suspects broke into the facility which is situated in a remote part of a sugar cane plantation. Picture: RUSA

According to Prem Balram from Reaction Unit SA the suspects broke into the facility which is situated in a remote part of a sugar cane plantation. Picture: RUSA

Published Feb 26, 2020

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Durban - Police have confirmed that an inquest docket had been opened after a man who was allegedly tampering with cellphone tower batteries in Verulam was shot and killed. 

According to police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele the incident took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

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"Security guards were inspecting the towers in Hilltop, Canelands when they heard voices. While inspecting, two male suspects allegedly fired shots at them and they retaliated. 

"One of the male suspects was fatally shot and the tower was tampered with," said Mbele. 

In addition to the inquest docket, charges of attempted murder was also opened.

Gwala said the second suspect was still on the run and police were looking for him. 

According to Prem Balram from Reaction Unit SA the suspects broke into the facility which is situated in a remote part of a sugar cane plantation.

Picture: RUSA

According to Prem Balram from Reaction Unit SA the suspects broke into the facility which is situated in a remote part of a sugar cane plantation. 

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"They were in the process of stealing batteries when they were accosted by security officers."

Balram said it is alleged the suspects opened fire on the officers who returned fire.

"The security guard shot one of the suspects twice in the chest and once in the abdomen. The injured suspect was declared deceased on arrival of paramedics."

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Balram said attempts to apprehend the remaining suspect were futile as he fled on foot. 

In October Pretoria News reported that MTN lost over R200 million in its last financial year over cellphone tower batteries. 

Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said breakthroughs in the fight against cellphone tower battery theft and vandalism were welcomed, but the statistics remained worryingly high and more had to be done.

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“The stats show that on average, between 400 and 600 towers are attacked every month."

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