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2023/11/20      |  Written By:  Colonel A Myburg   |   Province:  North West

POTCHEFSTROOM: 19 NOVEMBER 2023 - A total of nine suspects were arrested for stock theft in three separate incidents in the North West between Wednesday, 15 and Friday, 17 November 2023.

In the first incident reported on Wednesday morning, 15 November 2023 at about 08:30, 160 sheep were allegedly stolen from a farm in Hartbeesfontein four suspects that included a previous employee. A joint effort by Hartbeesfontein by police and the local Safety Watch led to the recovery of all the sheep. Although the suspects escaped and evaded the arrests, they were later arrested after information regarding their whereabouts was received. Matshidiso Mokopela (23) and Motseothatha Daniel Moreo (21) were arrested by Stilfontein Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit (STES) and appeared before the Klerksdorp Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 17 November 2023. The accused were remanded in custody until their next court appearance before the same court on 24 November 2023.

In the second incident reported in the early hours of Thursday morning, 16 November 2023, a farmer in Biesiesvlei was woken up by a neighbour who heard loud noises coming from his nearby kraal. The owner immediately went to his kraal where he discovered that the fence was cut and that goats and sheep were missing. Members of the community mobilised and found a suspicious white combi about three km from the grazing camp where the theft occurred. Community members chased the vehicle until it got stuck in a nearby maize field. About six suspects jumped out of the combi and ran away, but one of them was arrested. Ten goats and four sheep were discovered in the combi while 16 goats were found at a loading place in the bushes. Investigation by Sannieshof STES, led to the arrest of another suspect later the same day. The pair, aged 24 and 25, will appear before the Lichtenburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 20 November 2023, on a charge of stock theft.

In the last incident at about 10:30 on Friday, 17 November 2023, police received information of stolen sheep that were kept in Chris Hani Location in Wolmaransstad. Information further indicated that the sheep were loaded in a silver Mitsubishi vehicle. Subsequently, Crime Intelligence, Public Order Police (POP), Wolmaransstad police and Stilfontein STES operationalised the information and stopped a silver Mitsubishi vehicle with four occupants on the N12 road between Wolmaransstad and Bloemhof. Upon searching the vehicle, a sheep was found in the boot of the vehicle. The suspects were arrested after the occupants failed to account for the possession. Further investigations led the team to three addresses in Wolmaransstad where five sheep carcasses were found and another suspect was arrested. A total of five suspects, aged between 25 and 36, are expected to appear before the Wolmaransstad Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 20 November 2023, for possession of suspected stolen property.

The North West Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, congratulated the teams for their dedication, thorough investigation and diligence that resulted in the arrests. He further thanked the community for their involvement in the fight against crime as the police alone, will not be able to solve crime. He urged farmers to ensure that their stock is marked in accordance with the Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No. 6 of 2002).