SPS High Risk Unit (TrackerSA) with the help of Ladanna Community Policing Forum intercepted a minibus making its way from the Eastern Cape to Zimbabwe loaded with hundreds of suspected stolen cell phones, cell tower batteries, laptops and solar panels just outside Polokwane on Monday, following ongoing monitoring of hundreds of kilometres of road travel.
On the scene Polokwane Observer was told that the minibus had been followed from the Eastern Cape but that authorities lost track of it because the driver allegedly repeatedly changed the registration plates en route.
“The minibus was spotted in Kroonstad earlier that day and we estimated a time it would pass through Polokwane.
Just as I was about to leave for Mokopane late afternoon I noticed the minibus towing a trailer with an Eastern Cape registration number,” said Jason Janse van Rensburg of SPS High Risk Unit.
The minibus with six occupants was escorted to the weighbridge along the R101 where it was searched.
Provincial Police Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed the incident and indicated that three foreign nationals aged between 28 and 35 years were arrested for being in possession of suspected stolen property.
During the search Police found 207 brand new cell phones, five cell tower batteries, three solar panels and two laptops to an estimated total value of R900 000. The items were found concealed among luggage on the trailer. The occupants could not declare the origin of the items and did not have receipts.
The driver, his assistant and a passenger that were pointed out were arrested on the scene, Mojapelo confirmed.
Police confiscated the suspected stolen items as well as the minibus and the trailer. The other three occupants were reportedly released because they were just passengers travelling home and could not be linked to the stolen items, according to Mojapelo.
The suspects were expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court during the course of the week.
Story/photos: RC Myburgh