Residents of Khwisa Trading Centre in Balaka foiled an attempted theft of an Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited transformer in the district last week.
Police in Balaka have since arrested two suspects and seized a motor vehicle they were reportedly driving in.
ESCOM Public Relations Manager Innocent Chitosi confirmed the incident, saying the suspects and the vehicle are being kept at Balaka Police Station. Chitosi identified the suspects as Aubrey Chidothi and Dickson Chipoya.
He said a joint investigation by the police and ESCOM security personnel revealed that an ESCOM employee, Madalitso Gama, allegedly hired the vehicle, a Toyota Dyna registration number MJ 226, in Blantyre on Wednesday last week.
"Gama, who is at large, was transferred from Balaka to Blantyre last year. He is a faults operator but went on leave and was expected back in office mid this month," Chitosi said.
He explained that the vehicle picked two other people from Blantyre and another one in Balaka.
"They went to Khwisa Trading Centre and disconnected the transformer. Residents at the centre were suspicious and apprehended the two while the others, including Gama fled from the scene," he said.
Chitosi said besides Gama others on the run are Isaac Jonas, a temporary linesman at Balaka ESCOM office and Ted Mussa an ex-ESCOM employee. Chitosi has since urged the general public across the country to emulate members of the community at Khwisa in being vigilant in protecting ESCOM property.
There has been a spate of transformer vandalism and theft cases leaving several areas in darkness for long periods.
A shop at Mwaye village in rural Balaka that has received electricity connection and is now able to open for longer hours.