Gofaone Koogotsitse
BIG TURNOUT: The suspected thieves outside court

*Eight men remanded for stock theft

*Allegedly stole 51 goats and 3 sheep in prolonged crime spree

Long-suffering farmers in the Kweneng District will sleep easier at night after police busted a notorious stock-theft gang that has tormented the area for over a year.

There was little space for social distancing at Molepolole Magistrates Court this week as eight suspected criminals shuffled into the dock facing six counts of stock-theft each.

In a crime spree that dates back to 13 May 2020, the men, as well as two others still on the run, are said to have stolen 51 goats and three sheep.

In total, the pilfered animals were estimated to be worth P67, 500.

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It is believed the suspects, who are aged between 29 and 74, would sell the stolen livestock to other farmers in and around Kweneng.

According to the charge sheet, the gang’s suspected life of crime got off to a relatively tame start.

Between the 13th and 19th of May last year, the men are accused of stealing five goats at Ga-Sepene lands belonging to one, Thuso Selaki.

They are then said to have gone quiet for over a year before returning with a vengeance last month.

Apparently making up for lost time, on 4 June the men reportedly stole 15 goats from MmaSebele lands belonging to Moageledi Monamati.

A week later, they allegedly struck at Kgonkwe lands, making off with 17 goats belonging to Olefile Mosimanewakgotla.

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In a further three separate raids between 11 – 25 June, the bandits are believed to have pinched another 14 goats.

During this time, they seemingly expanded their tastes and stole three sheep as well.

In their brief but packed court appearance, the accused pleaded for bail, promising to comply with any order that the court might set.

However, the prosecution requested they be remanded as investigations were still ongoing.

It was also pointed out that around 10 goats are still to be recovered and the suspects might interfere with investigations if released.

Urging the state to hurry up and complete their investigations, Chief Magistrate Goabaone Rammapudi-Lesedi duly sent the suspects to the slammer, setting their next mention for 26 July.

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From oldest to youngest the eight accused are: Galelemogwe Matshegwaane (74), Oshima Mapitse (44), Markson Mothobo Rantati (44), Kgosiitsile Motlhabane (41), Moarabi Letlhokwe (39), Outule Motlhokwa (36), Kebabetswe Ralebekwa (33) and Onkarabile Senwamere (29).

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