HomeNewsCourtsCopper-stealing men get 10-year jail terms

Copper-stealing men get 10-year jail terms

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A SIX-MEMBER gang that vandalised Zesa Holdings transmission lines in Matobo district and found in possession of copper cables worth more than $10 000 in Bulawayo, was on Wednesday slapped with effective 10-year jail terms each.

STAFF REPORTER

The theft of the copper cables in Matobo district left Tshelanyemba Hospital without electricity and water and forced villagers to travel an extra 50km for treatment at the next healthcare facility in Maphisa.

The six, Bhekimpilo Maphosa (31), Headman Nkomo (29), Obert Sibanda (38) and Nation Nkomo (31) all of Nkulumane suburb Bulawayo, Libertie Mataruse (25) and Colleen Nyathi (46) both of Old Lobengula, denied the charge when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove.

But after a full trial on Wednesday, Mushove found them guilty and sentenced them to effective 10-year jail terms each.

Prosecutor Simbarashe Manyiwa told the court that on July 13 at around 8pm, the six went to rural Maphisa in Matabeleland South where they cut Zesa copper cables.

Copper-Cables
Copper-Cables

They cut transmission wires covering a distance of about 3,6km and weighing 868kg.

They loaded the cables onto a South Africa-registered Toyota Hilux double cab and drove to Bulawayo where they burnt the insulation at a bushy area in Hyde Park.

They drove to a house in Nkulumane where they offloaded the copper.

On July 16, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department theft squad received a tip-off that the suspects had cut the copper into small pieces and stashed it into spare wheels and 20-litre plastic containers.

The detectives went to the house where they recovered 868,2kg of copper wire and arrested the four suspects at the scene while one fled.

The fifth suspect was later arrested at his house on July 17.

Three heavy duty wire cutters, two heavy duty hammers and two wheel spanners used in the offence were recovered.

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