Alternative energy sources are becoming more popular in South Africa, with consumers turning to various methods to keep the lights on in their homes. One source growing in popularity is the use of solar panels and deep cycle batteries, but getting a system like this up and running isn’t cheap. As a result, criminal syndicates have focused their attention on stealing highly-valued deep cycle batteries from cellphone towers across the country and selling them to unsuspecting consumers at a much lower price.
Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs to help you avoid purchasing possible stolen goods. Firstly, the brand of the deep cycle battery is a dead giveaway. Major mobile operators make use of one particular brand, Leoch, and these lithium batteries are imported solely by a company, Averge Technologies, that does not sell to the general public. Other agreements are in place for other (non-lithium) Leoch batteries, but if you come across a Leoch lithium being sold to you on the open market, it is most likely stolen. Furthermore, the price is also a clear indication, with Leoch lithium batteries selling for between R25 000 and R30 000 per battery. Black market batteries are often sold at barely a third of the actual price.
If you suspect a battery has been stolen, or you see suspected vandalism at a cellphone tower, it’s crucial that you report it as soon as possible. Here’s how:
Report the incident at your nearest police station or report it anonymously to Crime Stop on 08600 10111
BIDVEST PROTEA COIN HOTLINE: 086 101 1721
Call: MTN Fraud Line 083-123-7867
email: [email protected]
Call: 0800 124 000
Call: 0800 990 520
Call: 084 135
You can also report stolen batteries to Averge Technologies directly.