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City's Copperheads arrest syndicate behind struggle statue theft

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City's Copperheads arrest syndicate behind struggle statue theft

by City of Cape Town
13 Mar 2008
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town last night arrested seven men in Netreg, Bonteheuwel, in connection with the theft of the memorial sculpture of Robbie Waterwitch and Coline Williams in Athlone last Tuesday.

Last night’s arrests follow on the arrest of three others on Sunday who were identified at the Beaconvale scrap yard where the thieves sold parts of the statues for R9 000.

This is the fourth major breakthrough in three weeks by the City’s Non-ferrous Metal Theft Task Team, nicknamed the Copperheads. The previous recent successes were recorded on 18 February at Peerless Park and 3 March in Blackheath.

According to the Chairperson of the Copperheads, Cllr Pieter van Dalen, the task team worked three days non-stop to track down the suspects.

"On Friday we found 64 pieces of the sculpture at a scrap yard in Epping after receiving tips that pieces of the statue were on the premises. From there the team was pointed to the Beaconvale operation," says Cllr van Dalen.

The syndicate operates a business on the same lines as the taxi industry. They rent out horse drawn carts and delivery vans which scout around the various areas to buy scrap metal off the streets.

During the investigation into the Athlone theft, the Copperheads made a fifth breakthrough in which they recovered a hijacked truck loaded with stainless steel.

"We followed up on the information and arrested two people. The truck and contents were returned to the rightful owner.

"These successes are a major blow to copper theft and contribute to reduced crime statistics in the entire Cape Town. It is now up to the courts to make examples of these hardened criminals who went as far as stealing a sculpture which depicts part of South African history. We will not hesitate to act against these acts of thuggery," he says.

Cllr Van Dalen expressed his gratitude towards the Athlone Police station and the public for all the information provided to the team and urged residents to report information regarding any suspicious activity to the City’s toll free Cable Theft Hot Line, 0800 222 771 or directly to him on 083 655 2203.


NO. 80/2008
11 MARCH 2008

TEL: 021 400 3719

CELL: 083 655 2203

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