Trio jailed 80 years for vandalising transformers at schools
THREE copper cable thieves who were in the habit of vandalising Zesa transformers and copper cables in schools in and around Zaka have been jailed for a total of 80 years by a Chiredzi Regional Magistrate.
The three are Israel Ngorima (18) of Mugawa Village under Chief Marozva in Bikita, Julias Mazhetese (27) and Caution Masunda (26), all of Mazhetese Village under Chief Nyakunhuwa in Zaka.
They recently appeared before Chiredzi senior regional magistrate Mrs Judith Zuyu following their arrest for vandalism of public utilities and infrastructure.
Acting Criminal Investigations Department (CID) spokesperson Detective Assistant Inspector Rachel Muteweri said the trio was convicted and sentenced to an effective 20-year jail term each for two counts of vandalism of Zesa transformers.
At the same time, Caution Masunda will additionally serve another 20-year jail term meaning he will be behind bars for an effective 40 years.
“On March 10, 2023, police officers on patrol near Harava area, Zaka intercepted the accused persons who were carrying suspicious bags. Searches were carried out leading to the recovery of various spanners, torches, a bolt cutter, scale, catapult and various clothes.
“Upon further interviews, the accused persons admitted of having vandalised a transformer at Muparuri Primary School and another at Muchechetere High School, Zaka. They later led to the recovery of some copper windings,” Detective Asst Insp Muteweris said.
She said it was further unearthed that between December 31, 2022 and February 24, 2023, Caution Masunda, together with his other accomplices identified as Dereck, Gody, Eddison Mazhetese, Owen, Prince, Jephias Chese and Farai alias Gunners who are still at large, committed similar offences at four other schools in Zaka.
Following the arrests of Israel Ngorima, Julias Mazhetese, and Caution Masunda, they were then taken to court where they were remanded to March 14, 2023 for sentencing after they pleaded guilty to the charges.
Police are now appealing for information that may lead to the arrest of the outstanding suspects.
Anyone with information can contact CID Masvingo on 031233 6402 or the National Complaints Desk on (0242) 703631, Whatsapp number 0712 800 197.
Vandalism of public utilities and infrastructure attracts a mandatory 10-year jail term.