Hawks make arrest after theft of 50 rhino horns from North West stockpile

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Hawks make arrest after theft of 50 rhino horns from North West stockpile
Hawks make arrest after theft of 50 rhino horns from North West stockpile

Africa-Press – South-Africa. A man has been arrested in connection with the theft of more than 50 rhino horns from a North West stockpile.

The man is expected to appear in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court on Monday to face a charge of business robbery, said Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Tinyiko Mathebula.

According to Mathebula, the 40-year-old man was arrested by the Hawks in Rustenburg on Thursday.

“Information led the team to a house at Boitekong in Rustenburg where a 40-year-old man was found. He was subsequently arrested and charged with business burglary,” he said.

“Five vehicles believed to have been used in the commission of the crime – a Range Rover, Land Rover, BMW, Nissan X-Trail and Honda Civic – were confiscated for further investigation.”

The horns were stolen from the North West Parks and Tourism Board in Mahikeng and that it appeared as if the robbers had managed to evade security measures such as alarms, security cameras, and a locked vault.

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment spokesperson Peter Mbelengwa said the South African Revenue Service’s customs had been notified to alert their officials of the possible illegal export of the stolen horns.

The rhino horns may already be on their way to Asian markets, based on speculation by experts.

Martin Ewi, Institute for Security Studies Southern Africa’s organised crime observatory coordinator, said that the robbery was most likely carried out by “foot soldiers”, with a middleman having meticulously planned the details of the robbery and escape after an order for rhino horns from a kingpin in a market country.

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