/ 16 August 2008

Four detained after cable theft halts Cape Town trains

A scrap-metal dealer and three other men were arrested on Friday in Cape Town for theft of copper cables that caused trains into the city to grind to a halt, police said.

Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo said the scrap-metal dealer and a 28-year-old man were found in possession of meshed copper cables, which had been stolen in Woodstock.

He said two other men were arrested on Thursday night after they were caught stealing cables. The two allegedly broke into a building in Woodstock to cut the cables.

”They were caught red-handed in the signal room with cables and devices. Unfortunately they had already damaged the system,” he said.

Naidoo said the four are expected to appear on charges of housebreaking and theft in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday. More arrests are also expected.

Early on Friday, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that hundreds of commuters in the Cape Peninsula were stranded as trains ground to a halt following the cable theft. All trains heading into the city were said to have been delayed.

The cables were stolen from the Woodstock station where stranded commuters could be seen walking along the railway line on Friday morning.

Some passengers from the northern suburbs were delayed by up to three hours. — Sapa