|Copper cable thief remanded in custody|
|Saturday, 16 June 2012 21:45|
Sunday News ReporterPOLICE have arrested a man from Magwegwe North suburb who stole 468kg of copper cables worth US$7 020 in Mbembesi while his partners in crime are still at large.
This was heard when the accused, Melusi Mangena (29), initially appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Mr Shepherd Munjanja, for contravening Section 60(A) of the Electricity Amendment Act Number 12/2007 Chapter 13:19 (Cut, damage, destroy or interfere with any apparatus for generating, transmitting, distribution or supply of electricity).
The complainant is Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company represented by Jim Demba and the accused resides at house number 4583/4 Magwegwe North and is unemployed.
The state case, as presented by Malvern Nzombe, is that on 6 June 2012 at around 11pm the accused person and his accomplices identified as Khabo and Thandanani, who are still at large, proceeded to Maqaqeni area near Ingwenya Dam in Mbembesi where they cut 5 400metres of ZETDC overheard copper cables.
It is the state’s case that after cutting the copper cables from a power line which also supplies electricity to Mbembesi Police Station, police officers realised that this was not a normal load shedding programme and this prompted them to deploy patrol teams along the said power line because copper cables had been stolen before.
During the patrol, police officers noticed loose electrical copper cables hanging from the poles and started investigating.
The court heard that they noticed a white Toyota Quantum which had no number plates parked near the scene.
The officers then discovered bundles of copper cables near the road and laid an ambush.
It is the state’s case that after about 30 minutes they observed one suspect proceeding towards the bundles, confronted him and he fled away from the scene and they fired two warning shots but he did not stop.
The officers on patrol then phoned the station for back up and called in the police dog section but did not manage to apprehend any of the accused persons.
The court heard that the scene of the crime was later attended by detectives from the Mineral Unit in Bulawayo. Finger prints were obtained from the vehicle and detectives gained entry into the vehicle which was locked by removing the right hand side rear window.
The police recovered one bundle of copper which was already loaded in the vehicle under the backseat and number plates reading WWB 790 GP under the driver’s seat.
The court heard that the Detectives also recovered several documents notable among them a valid temporary import permit with Sipho Maphosa’s name and address and a nokia dual sim card cellphone which was used to trace and arrest the owner of the vehicle which Thandanani Mangena kept on calling enquiring about the whereabouts of the vehicle.
Upon arrest Thandanani immediately indicated to the detectives that he had given his vehicle to his cousin brother, who is the accused.
The court heard that Thandanani Mangena later led the Detectives to the accused’s place of residence in Magwegwe North but he could not be found.
Melusi was later arrested in Mbembesi after he tried to negotiate for the release of the vehicle with the help of two other men whom he had misrepresented that the vehicle had been impounded for a traffic offence.
He then led detectives to his place of residence where the said vehicle keys were recovered from his trousers.
The court heard that at his place of residence Melusi became violent and fought detectives in a bid to escape but he was overpowered.
He was remanded in custody to 21 June.