Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A suspect facing over 10 counts of armed robbery, unlawful entry and theft, was recently shot by the police while trying to evade arrest after cops had pounced on him at his safe house in Chinamhora.
Enock Mubengwa (30), who resides in Epworth, allegedly committed the offences in connivance with Tawanda Maregere and his two brothers, Learnmore and the late Frederick Mubengwa.
Learnmore is still at large, while Maregere is serving a jail term in Chipinge. According to the State, the gang is linked to a spate of robberies which were committed at various churches in Harare.
They are also under investigation on cases of unlawful entry, which occurred in schools around Gokwe. On their latest heist, the gang armed with iron bars, bolt cutters and harmers allegedly stole cash, fuel coupons and engine oil at a service station in Chipinge. Mubengwa was yesterday remanded on his hospital bed by magistrate Ms Josephine Sande.
Prosecutor Ms Linda Gadzikwa opposed bail on the basis that Mubengwa has three outstanding warrants of arrest issued by different courts on different cases.
“On another case, he was granted bail pending trial by the High Court and he then absconded trial at Chitungwiza Magistrate’s Court, prompting the prosecution to apply for an arrest warrant,” she said.
“The accused and his brothers are also linked to various cases of robbery, unlawful entry and theft which are under investigations at different police stations. “He also absconded trial in Gokwe and was again issued with another warrant of arrest.”
Ms Gadzikwa also told the court that the gang is also linked to a spate of robberies which targeted various churches in Harare.
“When he was arrested for robbery in churches, Mubengwa was appearing before magistrate Mr Mambanje at Mbare Court, but he absconded trial after he was granted bail and was issued with a warrant of arrest. “Your worship, if granted bail, the accused will abscond and continue to re-offend.
“When the police pounced on him in Chinamhora, he tried to escape and was only arrested after shots had been fired. Therefore if released, he will not come back to stand trial in respect of all the mentioned cases,” she said.
It is the State’s case that on October 25 last year, the gang allegedly armed themselves with harmers, bolt cutters and iron bars and drove to Chipinge in their getaway car — a Toyota Noah.
They arrived at Salegate Service Station at around midnight and parked their vehicle some few metres away from the service station and cut the security fence using the bolt cutters.
They gained entry into the premises and proceeded to a room where the manager, Chamunorwa Gwamura, and fuel attendant Noah Dozva were sleeping, the court heard.
They allegedly manhandled the duo and assaulted them with iron bars, while demanding for cash before they were given the safe keys. It is alleged they stole cash, fuel coupons and engine oil worth more than $12 000.
While they were leaving the scene with their loot, the gang was confronted by police officers who were on patrol.
They escaped and fled in different directions, with the police in hot pursuit.
The police managed to arrest Maregere, who admitted to having committed the robbery before implicating his alleged accomplices.