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Guards stole US$53 000 dropped by robbers, court told

They spent the money on buying cars, housing stands and paying lobola

By Staff Reporter

Two security guards employed by J and P Security Company stole US$53 000 cash dropped by fleeing suspects during an armed robbery incident in which US$700 000 was seized from Quest Finance offices in Harare last month.

A Harare court was on Monday told that Cornelius Muchikange and Nesbert Kachungwe, both aged 35, converted the money into their own use after they stumbled on the loot outside the premises.

The two pleaded guilty to theft when they appeared before Harare magistrate Ethel Chichera on Monday.

They will be back in court Tuesday for sentencing.

The court heard the two picked a plastic bag with US$53 000 that had been accidentally dropped by the robbers escaping the crime scene and decided to share the loot among themselves.

Muchikange bought a Nissan Sulphy for US$3 700 and a residential stand for US$6 000 in Harare’s East View area.

He also used US$2 500 to pay lobola to his in laws.

His accomplice, Kachungwe bought a Nissan AD Van for US$6 100 using the proceeds as well as building materials valued US$1 000.

The complainant in this matter is Daniel Mandizvidza (54) and is the head of operations at Quest Financial Services.

According to court papers, on February 25 at around 1:30 AM, 12 robbers who were armed with a pistol, unidentified blank pistol, drill, iron bar, bolt cutter and explosives approached Mandizvidza in his bedroom at the place of work after breaking the door of his bedroom.

They tied him and ransacked several offices.

They blasted a safe in the Operations Manager’s office and stole cash.

The robbers used some detonators to blast a safe and stole cash all valued at US$744 000.

Also stolen were 120 Euros, ZAR 10 500 which they loaded into a plastic bag and cardboard box.

The robbers were disturbed by the arrival of both Safe Guard and J & P Security Service reaction teams.

The court heard the duo parked at the front of the premises.

During their escape, the robbers left a grinder, some fuse detonators, a bag with two laptops, dropped cash amounting to US$5 000 in the premises escaped from the back of the premises.

Whilst outside the premises, one of the paper bags the robbers were using to carry money was torn and all the cash dropped to the ground and the robbers proceeded without picking it up.

The two accused patrolled near the perimeter wall and found the cash amounting to approximately US$53 000, took it and shared amongst themselves.

On March 8, detectives from CID Homicide Harare received information that the pair had stolen the cash which was dropped by robbers at the scene.

The police detectives managed to arrest the two in Harare CBD.

Upon interrogation, it was also established that on March 7, Muchikange was approached by six male adults purporting to be police officers who impersonated detectives from CID Homicide and they took the remainder of the money he had which amounted to US$15 000.

The same fake CID officers stole US$7 000 from Kachungwe.

The total value stolen is US$ 53 000 and property value at US$15 700 was recovered.

Zebediah Bofu prosecuted.

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