Ricochet News

98 sheep and 8 cows recovered, 6 alleged stock thieves arrested

Dec 8, 2017
98 sheep and 8 cows recovered, 6 alleged stock thieves arrested

Intelligence driven operations and diligent detective work by members of various SAPS Stock Theft Units within the Eastern Cape yielded results when six suspects were arrested and suspected stolen stock comprising of eight cows, 98 sheep and the carcasses of two sheep and one pig recovered.

According to police information, 66 sheep were stolen at Mayibe village and discovered 40 km away at Tabase A/A and positively identified as belonging to a local subsistence farmer with the help of the local traditional authority on 01 December.

"The sheep were reported stolen on Friday night and recovered in an uncultivated fenced ploughing field by detectives, who were investigating the case," said police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjeni. 

"It is alleged, the owner of the sheep attended a funeral and left a relative in charge, who briefly left the homestead and came back  only to discover that the sheep were missing."

He said that the East London Stock Theft Unit also recovered eight cows and arrested two male suspects, aged 23-28 years old, for stock theft after they were found with sheep carcasses they could not prove positive ownership of.  

"Six of the cows were found in a forest tied with ropes to nearby trees while two, were recovered tied with ropes in a bushy areas in two different locations in Chalumna and Maclean," said Capt Tonjeni.

"Both suspects are expected to appear in court on Friday, at East London Magistrate's Court."

He added that another twenty two sheep were recovered in an abandoned house at Dalasile and Nkondlo village in Qumbu and compounded by Qumbu Saps.

"Police are still looking for the owner or anyone who have recently lost such a number of sheep to visit Qumbu police in order to identify and provide positive proof of ownership."

Meanwhile, the KwaDwesi Stock Theft Unit recovered 10 sheep on 2 December 2017 that could have strayed or got lost as there were no slaughter scenes identified in close proximity.

"The sheep have been impounded while police await anyone who can come and positively identify them as their own," appealed Captain Tonjeni

He said that Kirkwood police were busy following detective leads when they found two slaughtered sheep and arrested two suspects, aged between 32 and 33 years, for stock theft on Monday.

"While combing the crime scene for more clues police stumbled across another fresh scene of animal slaughter with a carcass of a pig. A few meters from the scene police lifted a hat that was identified as belonging to one of the arrested suspects.

"Additional charges of stock theft were added to one of the suspects," he described.

"Police have combined all the cases within three meter radius of the home of the suspects to determine whether they are not directly linked to the suspects and if it has been proved to be so, additional charges will be effected."

Capt Tonjeni said that Swartkops SAPS also arrested two suspects, aged between 29-47 years, and charged them for stock theft.

"This arrest follows an arrest that was effected on the 26 November 2017 where other three accused were arrested and charged for armed robbery and stock theft following a robbery and theft of 40 sheep in a stock farm," he said.

"The five suspects have briefly appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday facing their charges."

Capt Tonjeni said that police are appealing to all stock owners to exercise caution and high alert during this time as stock thieves are on the lookout for unattended stock to steal and sell for a quick buck.

"Police are also warning the members of the public to refrain from buying meat and stock from people who do not own stock or have positive proof that they are the rightful owners of the goods for sale. Police will be having no option but to arrest the seller and the buyer of stolen stock."

EC Provincial Commissioner-Lt Gen Ntshinga congratulated the members for the successes and vouched that his component and all the units will do their utmost work, working hand in hand with community members and stock owners to fight the scourge of stock theft that tends to be a regular occurrence during the festive season and beyond.

“Our deployment must focus on key festive season pillars that instruct members to investigate all the cases related to wildlife, endangered species, marine species and combatting stock theft. This breakthrough and successes proves that Stock Theft Units are on the right track,” she added.