A collaborative effort between Bulawayo residents and police has resulted in the successful dismantling of a notorious gang believed to be responsible for widespread copper cable theft in the city.

The operation culminated in the recovery of more than five tons of stolen cables in the suburb of Mahachula.

Today, Saturday, the criminal investigation team of the Criminal Investigation Department was able to arrest the four-member gang, after a careful surveillance operation that lasted for two weeks.

within Those arrested are a man and his wife, Tapfumani Muzirabane and Tracey Ncube, along with their alleged accomplices, Alan Mudigiwa and Hebron Chiyangwa.

Bulawayo Provincial Police spokesperson, Inspector Abedneko Ncube, credited the alert public with reporting suspicious activities that led to the surveillance and subsequent arrests.

“Bulawayo Province is battling blight The theft of copper cables prompted us to investigate the murders and arrest the suspects. CID investigators received information from members of the public which led to a raid on a house in the suburb of Mahachula. “They were found with more than 5 tons of copper cables in two separate rooms,” Insp Ncube said.

He said police believe the couple residing there were involved in hiding the stolen goods, which were allegedly intended for sale to various buyers.

“The owner of the house is a 64-year-old man who resides elsewhere and did not know that his house was being used as a storage facility for stolen copper cables. Insp Ncube said: “We want to appreciate the members of the public for their trust in ZRP Bulawayo and we want to appreciate the police themselves, especially the CID department in The murders in this case, who worked with dedication, diligence and motivation in pursuing this case.”

Meanwhile, police on Wednesday arrested a 36-year-old man in the Emganwini suburb and found 1.5 tons of copper cables in his possession.

This person, an agent for Harare-based Reczone Private Limited, confirmed that the cables were stored on behalf of the company.

Insp Ncube reports that police received a report regarding the suspect being in possession of the cables, which were believed to have been stolen from the distribution network of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Corporation (ZETDC).

“On March 13, investigators received information that the accused had copper cables suspected to have been stolen from ZETDC’s distribution lines. The recovered copper cables belonged to ZETDC.

“Some of them are used in electricity distribution and some are transformer coils and overhead copper distribution cables. Police established that the man is actually an agent of Reczone Pvt Ltd and that he works at Kelvin West Industrial Estate in Bulawayo.

“At an unknown date, but in January 2024, he received various copper cables packed in 34 pockets weighing 50 kg. Copper cables included transformer coils and overhead distribution cables. “He stored the cables at one of the company’s offices at 1634 Market Road Kelvin North, Bulawayo,” Insp Ncube said.

He said that the police went to the building where they requested a search and were able to recover 1,380.5 kg of copper cables, of which 571 kg were ZETDC transformer coils.

“ZETDC engineers and representatives of TelOne Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) were called to the CID Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit Station to identify the recovered copper cables. “The ZETDC engineer identified 571kg of transformer coils and overhead distribution cables,” said Inspector Ncube.

He claimed to have obtained different copper cables from multiple sources. Upon inspection, present a legitimate copper business license, valid from February 19 of this year until February 18, 2025, issued to the employer.

However, Insp Ncube highlighted a potential violation of Section 4(4) of the Copper Control Act, Chapter 14:06, which expressly prohibits the transfer or unauthorized use of such licenses.

The incident highlights ongoing concerns about the loss of parastatal property to vandalism and theft.

In response to these challenges, Zisa led an awareness campaign last month, in collaboration with Bulawayo City Council, police, ZETDC Loss Control, NRZ and TelOne.

The initiative aims to raise public awareness about the harmful effects Vandalism of service infrastructure, especially theft of copper cables.

The consequences of these criminal activities were dire, including deaths in hospitals, interruptions to water supplies and prolonged power outages affecting many citizens. Chronicle

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