Suspected water meter thief caught

Armed-response officers with the suspected water-meter thief they apprehended in Plumstead.

Armed-response officers have apprehended a suspected water-meter thief in Plumstead.

Theft of brass water meters came up at the Kirstenhof and Environs Residents’ Association (KERA) annual general meeting on Wednesday May 19 (“Civic group warns of growing water meter thefts,” Bulletin May 27).

Carolynne Franklin, the association’s chairwoman, said two water meters had been stolen that day, plus 30 others in the past five weeks and a further six on Sunday May 23.

“We have footage. It takes 35 seconds to rip out a meter using a crowbar. Thieves have even taken two from neighbouring houses,” said Ms Franklin.

The City of Cape Town said 137 meters were stolen in the area between July 2020 and May 2021.

The damage is costing thousands and causing fresh water to go to waste. The City is now replacing brass water meters with plastic water meters at a cost of about R2 600 and R3 000 excluding Vat depending on the size.

Combat Force Armed Response manager Michael Cameron said the 32-year-old man from Lavender Hill was caught shortly after 11pm on Saturday June 19.

Officers Riedewaan Heynes and Robin Fernandez had spotted the man on a bicycle during their patrols in Plumstead, he said, adding that he had been acting suspiciously.

“When they approached him, he dropped his backpack and they asked if he had anything illegal in it.

“He said no and started to unpack it and inside was a black plastic bag with something heavy inside, and that is when they saw it was a water meter.

“When they picked it up, they found there was still water dripping from it. He also had a hacksaw blade and other tools.”

According to Mr Cameron, the officers took the man to Diep River police station where he gave a false name, and upon further investigation, officers found that he was wanted in Kirstenhof for a theft case.

Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, confirmed the arrest. “A 32-year-old male was arrested in Plumstead for possession of stolen property. He is wanted in Kirstenhof for theft.”