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10-year prison term for copper cable thieves

Two men from Bulawayo’s Sizinda suburb who were caught red-handed burning stolen copper cables worth US$32 have been sentenced to ten years in prison each.

The pair were convicted of violating the Post and Telecommunications Act.

Spencer Gande and Sibongilizwe Maniko were caught by an alert security officer as they burnt the copper in the latter’s home in an effort to remove insulation material.

Bulawayo regional magistrate Mafios Moyo convicted the two who had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge after a full trial.

In his ruling, Magistrate Moyo said the State had provided compelling evidence against the two men.

He said it was clear that the two were burning cables around 3 am, a time when human movement was minimal.

“They were able to burn all the copper cables without being noticed or disturbed. The two are therefore found guilty as charged,” Moyo said.

In mitigation, the pair alleged that the were not aware that they were burning copper cables since they had picked the material underneath garbage.

Prosecuting, Simbarashe Manyiwa said on August 11 at around 3am, Geshemu Zimba who is a security guard at Sizinda Community Garden was on duty when he saw Gande and Maniko carrying two black bags.

Manyiwa said Zimba became suspicious and followed the duo from a distance until they got to a house in the suburb.

“Upon arrival at the house, Zimba found the accused persons burning copper wires in an effort to remove the insulation material. He arrested the two before calling the police from Tshabalala who recovered the copper cables,” Manyiwa said.

“The matter was referred to CID Minerals Flora and Fauna unit for further investigations. The recovered copper cables were weighed at Zimpost and weighed 3,250kgs valued at US$32.50.

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