Copped with copper 

Christinah Motlhabane
SHACKLED SUSPECTS: Radipampiri and Mfuni (yellow top) are off to jail

After six days on the run, the long arm of the law has caught up with two suspected copper cable thieves.

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Bongani Mfuni, 35, and Olerato Radipampiri, 27, were rumbled by the boys in blue in Matsiloje last Tuesday, their car loaded up with 600m of cable belonging to Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).

On seeing the cops, the startled men abandoned their vehicle and loot, worth an estimated P72, 000, fleeing into the bush on foot.

They were tracked down nearly a week later, arrested in Francistown this Monday.

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Charged with theft, the dup were hauled before the second city’s Magistrate Court on Wednesday, where Mfuni, immediately confessed to his sticky fingers as well as being in Botswana illegally.

Pleading guilty, the Zimbabwean told court he wants the case over with as quickly as possible, so he can return to his home in Khezi village, where his two small children are waiting for him.

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His co-accused, however, maintained his innocence.

“I did not steal them. I was only told to transport the cables not knowing they were stolen. I have a two-year-old child who is depending on me and my young sibling, who I look after since our mother died,” revealed the Francistowner.

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Both men were remanded in custody after the Prosecutor, Moathodi Macheng pointed out cable theft was becoming a national concern and examples must be made.

Considering Mfuni’s illegal immigrant status, he also noted the Zimbo was a flight risk and not a suitable candidate for bail.

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The pair will return to court on Friday for status update, as well as facts reading for Mfuni.

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