While the theft of copper cables has reached an alarming rate, disrupting the lives of ordinary people, businesses and taking a toll on the economy, three men tried their luck yesterday setting a pile of old tyres alight at Gaborone West Industrial in an effort to extract copper from stolen BTC cables. They fled the scene when the police and fire brigade responded to the black smoke.
*Alleged copper criminals set tyres aflame in G/west
Gaborone came to a near standstill yesterday as a ravaging fire engulfed part of the city, curtaining it in a dark and heavy cloud of smoke. Three men alleged to have stolen copper cables from a back yard of Botswana Telecommunications at Gaborone West Industrial yesterday, reportedly burnt hundreds of worn-out tyres, before fleeing police pursuit. The three men are suspected to have stolen copper cables that were left in a back yard after BTC installed power lines and telecommunication cables around the city.
One of our sources, Seagiso Nkoko who said he works for Ngwato Security told Mmegi that he alerted the police when he saw the suspicious looking men carrying the cables. On arrival, the police tracked down the alleged criminals but as they were closing in on them, they saw a billow of smoke emanating from the industrial area.
The three men ran away and managed to escape from the police, who were focused on the intensifying fire. In an interview Inspector Senwelo Mogobye of Borakanelo Police Station said they tried to hunt down the three men but did not manage to arrest them.
"We are not even sure who owns the tyres nor the yard in which they were burnt," said Mogobye. He further said that they suspect that criminals use the yard to burn copper cables on a regular basis, as there are identifiable traces of burnt tyres. Mogobye asserted that they have launched a manhunt on the criminals. Fire fighters from the Gaborone City Council and Botswana Defence Force were faced with the mammoth task of extinguishing the fire, a feat they managed three hours and two water trucks later.