Man Gets 500 Years in Prison For Stealing From MTN and Cell-C Base Stations

vandalized base station
A vandalized base station. Image Courtesy MyBroadband

A South African man has been sentenced to a total of 500 years in prison after he was found guilty of stealing equipment from MTN and Cell C base stations.

Between 11 January 2018 and 9 February 2019, 30-year-old David Jenkins is accused of stealing broadband-over-power-line cards and “BPKd” cards from MTN base stations in Cape Town and some parts of the Boland. He was also accused of stealing “small-form pluggable optical modules” from Cell C base stations (these are compact media connectors that provide instant fibre connectivity for networking gear) with the total valuation of the good standing at R1.7 Million.

The National Prosecuting Authority said that Mr Jenkins was sentenced to a total of 500 years by a regional court in Cape Town. Jenkins was charged with 25 counts, to which he was found guilty for all of them and charged 20 years in prison for each, amounting to 500 years.

The judge, however, shaved 7 years off each of his counts and ordering that he serves his 25 counts concurrently which means he will only stay in prison for at least 13 years.

“There is a sharp increase in these types of offences in the jurisdiction of this court,” said prosecutor Ronelle Stone. “The consequences of these offences are of a very serious nature and the punishment imposed should serve to protect society.”

Vandalism of base stations (otherwise known as cell towers) and communication cables across South Africa has been on the rise with telecoms crying foul over millions of rands lost to such theft.

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