Knife-wielding apostolic prophet steals car, arrested after 24hrs Tendai Mandihlare was found guilty of fraud and alternatively corruptly using a false document, when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka.

Fungai Lupande-Mashonaland Central Bureau

A knife-wielding man from Village 4, Bruton Farm in Matepatepa, Bindura, stole a top-of-the-range Toyota Hilux, cellphones and US$750 cash at a prayer mountain in Guruve, asked the owner to teach him how to drive it, before taking the vehicle to his village.

His brief stint with a good life came to a screeching halt 24 hours later, after police tracked him down.

Hillary Rambakupetwa (29) pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery when he appeared before Bindura provincial magistrate Mr Tinashe Ndokera.

In mitigation, Rambakupetwa advised people against envying people’s beautiful possessions.

He was sentenced to five years in prison for the offence.

In his ruling, Mr Ndokera noted that the vehicle was intact and several phones that were inside were recovered. He used US$600 out of the US$750 cash that he stole.

The complainants were Fungai Chiyangwa (41), Felistas Tirivavi (38) and Obert Zvirevo (18).

All three are related and are from Kwekwe.

Prosecuting, Ms Runyararo Chikaka said the incident happened on April 10 this year at around 9am.

The three complainants went to Dandarecha mountain in Guruve for prayers.

They used a Toyota Hilux, registration number AGA 3643, belonging to Chiyangwa.

When they arrived at the mountain, Chiyangwa parked the vehicle near a bush road, locked it and climbed the mountain with others.

The following day, at around 10am, Rambakupetwa, who was also in the mountain, saw the trio and approached them.

He was dressed in an apostolic sect garment, pretending to be a “prophet”.

He advised the complainants to buy some goods that he allegedly wanted to use for a cleansing ceremony.

Later that day, at around midnight, Rambakupetwa approached the complainants again, but he was no longer putting on the garment.

He told the complainants that Chief Negomo had summoned everyone to another mountain to assist someone who was bitten by a snake.

 The complainants complied and after about an hour and half of walking, Rambakupetwa, who was in front, turned and faced them.

He was holding a knife and threatened to kill them. He demanded that they surrender all their valuables.

Out of fear, Chiyangwa surrendered her car keys, cell phones and US$750, which was in her purse.

He ordered Chiyangwa to accompany him to the car while Tirivavi and Zvirevo remained lying on the ground.

When they got to the vehicle, Rambakupetwa tied Chiyangwa’s hands on her back using tree bark.

He covered her mouth with a cloth and ordered her to teach him to drive the car.

After the “driving lesson”, Rambakupetwa tied Chiyangwa to a tree by the roadside and drove off.

The vehicle had several cellphones and goods. 

 After about 30 minutes, Chiyangwa untied herself and went Tirivavi and Zirevo. 

They reported the matter at ZRP Guruve. Detectives started a search for Rambakupetwa and arrested him at Village 4, Bruton Farm in Matepatepa on the following day.

The vehicle, all the cell phones and US$130 cash were recovered.

The value of the stolen property was US$93 650.

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