Copper thief earns 15 years in jail

Source: Copper thief earns 15 years in jail – Sunday News June 3, 2018

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
A 30-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed 15 years for stealing 800 metres of copper cables valued at $1 587 from Matobo District.

Givemore Machedu who is of no fixed abode pleaded not guilty to theft of copper but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence by Gwanda regional magistrate, Mr Mark Dzira last week.

Prosecuting, Mr Mncedisi Dube said Machedu stole the electricity cables which weighed 127 kilogrammes on 9 May at about 12 midnight.

“Machedu drove a black Madza 3 vehicle to Mathangeni area near Maphisa Growth Point and cut overhead cables from the transmission line measuring 800 metres and loaded them onto the vehicle and drove off. He was intercepted by security guards who were patrolling the area.

“The security guards questioned him and during the process he ran away leaving the vehicle which was locked behind. At around 7pm the security guards learnt that 800 metres of copper cables had been stolen from Mathangeni area,” he said.

Mr Dube said Machedu later surrendered himself to the police on the same day around 5pm leading to his arrest.

He was escorted to the vehicle which he unlocked leading to the recovery of the copper cables which weighed 127 kilogrammes and are valued at $1 587.

In his defence, Machedu said he did not steal the copper but was hired to transport the goods.

“I was hired by a man called Elmon to transport certain goods from somewhere in Maphisa to Bulawayo but I didn’t know what the goods were. I wasn’t familiar with the route and I asked my friend Norman Moyo to accompany me. Norman brought along his friend Khumbu Mlotshwa.

“I borrowed a car from a friend and I left Bulawayo in the company of Norman and Khumbu and we met Elmon in Maphisa. From there we proceeded to Matankeni to collect the goods. Along the way they stopped the car and went into the bushes and came back with rolls of copper cables. I assisted them to load them into the car but I didn’t know where they had got them from,” he said.

Machedu said they drove on and the car developed a fault and he stopped to check and his three companions also disembarked from the vehicle.

He said he was approached by two men and they asked why he was wandering around at night.

He said one of them was holding a gun and they ordered him to open the vehicle.

“I realised that my mates had fled and I assumed that the two men who were questioning me were robbers and I fled, fearing for my life. I later went to the police to narrate what had happened and I led them to the vehicle that I had left. I however, didn’t steal the cables,” he said.