"They tried to pull the cables using wires; they were standing on the ground," a Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesman said. Percy Morokane said that in 70% of reported cases of power cable theft, suspects are either killed or maimed. Stolen copper is often sold to scrap yards, which then export it. Mr Morokane said the two men, who were thought to be aged between 25 and 30, were trying to steal the copper from power lines running near a main road between Johannesburg and Pretoria. Copper-wire theft is a problem around Johannesburg, but was not an everyday occurrence, he said. In some South African provinces, people have been reported to use stepladders to reach the cables, but in this case the thieves were trying to pull them down from the ground.
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