The Nungua Police Divisional Command has mounted a search for two men alleged to have stolen an escalator valued at 250,000 Euros and using it for illegal mining.
The Police gave the names of the men as Michael Addo, aka Red, and a galamsey operator based in Obuasi, Osofo.
The excavator, which was stolen from Kezy-Bans Logistics, a company on the Spintex road, Accra, was retrieved from a pit at a mining site at Ampunyase near Obuasi in the Ashanti Region.
How excavator disappeared
The Nungua District Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mrs Patient Akwetey, said one of the wanted men, Addo, approached the company on Friday, April 25, 2013 to rent a CAT excavator for two days.
She said Addo paid GH¢1,700 as the daily fee for the use of the excavator for the digging of a manhole which would be used for a swimming pool at Community 25 in Tema.
According to her, Addo also paid for a low-loader trailer to convey the excavator from the Spintex Road to Community 25, accompanied by an operator from the company.
However, at Community 25, Addo was reported to have told the operator that he would not start work on the agreed date, since it was already late in the day and he had a funeral to attend.
“He, therefore, asked the operator to come back the next day but when the operator returned to the same venue where he had packed the excavator, it was nowhere to be found.”
Akwetey said the operator informed the company about the missing excavator, which in turn reported to the Nungua Police.
In the course of investigation, she said an eye witness who saw the excavator being conveyed from Community 25 led to the identification of the low-loader trailer which was used.
After two weeks of hunting for the man who had hired the excavator, the driver of the low-loaders trailer was spotted on the Obuasi-Accra road who helped to trace the machine to a pit in a village near Obuasi on Saturday, May 9, 2014.
She said when the police went to the galamsey site, they found the machine in operation but the men engaging in the illegal activity abandoned the place and fled.
Mine owner on the run
The police found out that the pit belonged to one Osofo, who is currently on the run.
It was also revealed that the man who sent the excavator to the illegal mining site had only given his name as Adu.
“We found a number of excavators in the pit and we believe they could also have been stolen,” said Mrs Akwetey.
The Nungua District Police Commander expressed the view that “it is suspected that this is the activity of a syndicate that has been going about stealing such machines.”
She cautioned companies in the business of renting or selling such machines to be cautious of individuals who approached them for their services.
“They use the decoy of renting legally for a couple of days and then disappear with it,” she said, and appealed to anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of the men to assist the police.
It has also been said that owners of such machines usually leave them by the road side with a hiring sign and their contacts on them but thieves go about in the night to steal them.
The work of the thieves is made easy as information available indicate that manufactures of the CAT machines have made it possible to use the same key to operate any of such machines across the world.