POLICE in Matabeleland North have arrested two men who are suspected to be part of a gang that had been stealing solar panels from solar street lights and exchanging them for goats.
Taurai Nyoni (38) and Tendai Ncube (34), both of Makala Village 5 in Jambezi, are also suspected to have stolen solar panels from a lodge in Matetsi Unit 6 last week.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said police recovered nine solar panels and a battery in Jambezi where each panel was exchanged with two goats.
“We have arrested two men in connection with theft of solar panels in Victoria Falls and Matetsi. Police got information that some stolen panels were in Kanyambizi and Makola.
“A team of investigators responded to information and arrested two suspects Taurai Nyoni and Tendai Ncube leading to the recovery of nine solar panels and a battery from nine different homesteads where they had been exchanged for two goats each,“ said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said preliminary investigations showed the solar panels were stolen from a housing project in Victoria Falls where they had been installed to power street lights.
The street lights were installed by CBZ Bank as part of the US$12 million housing project launched in 2016 to serve 1 200 low cost housing units.
The Victoria Falls Municipality management recently expressed concern over vandalism of solar street lights.
Council says solar panels have been stolen from over 60 percent of the installed street lights.
Thieves have also dug out batteries which had been installed underground on the foot of the street lights.