POLICE in Bulawayo have arrested a Harare man suspected to be part of an organised syndicate for stealing overhead copper conductors worth thousands of United States dollars from Zesa power lines in Bulawayo and surrounding areas.
Takudzwa Mateza (26), from Glenview 1, was reportedly in Bulawayo on a mission to steal copper cables and was booked at a lodge.
Mateza, who was in the company of his four accomplices, who fled and are still at large, was brought before Bulawayo magistrate Racheal Mukanga, facing three counts of interfering, cutting and damaging apparatus used for generating, transmitting, distributing or supplying electricity, in violation of the Electricity Act.
He was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody to 21 April 2021.
Allegations against Mateza are that on 19 March 2021 and in the company of his four accomplices, who are still at large, went to a construction site situated in Steeldale industrial area in Bulawayo and allegedly stole copper cables that were connected to the transformer.
The court heard that on 30 March 2021 Mateza and his accomplices again went to Shangani Mine turn-off along Bulawayo-Gweru highway and using the same modus operandi, cut copper cables connected to a transformer.
It was further heard that on 1 April 2021 along Montrose Road in Richmond, the accused and his accomplices were seen by residents removing bolts securing the top cover of a transformer.
The residents then phoned the police who swiftly reacted and came to the scene where they later arrested Mateza.
His accomplices fled from the scene leaving him to face the consequences alone.
Upon his arrest, he was found in possession of a 11kv D-stick, spanners, rope and bolt cutter which they were using to commit the offence.
The value of the stolen overhead copper cables is US$56 000.
Bulawayo has of late been hit by a series of power outages mostly due to copper cables theft, with Eastern suburbs being the worst affected.