A police constable, a soldier and two other accomplices have been hauled before the courts on allegations of stealing Zesa cables around Odzi since 2019, thereby causing incessant blackouts and affecting agricultural production in the farming area.
On countless occasions, the suspects allegedly cut electricity cables during the night and later sold the loot to the police officer who would then offload the cables on the black market at a higher price.
To increase stealing efficiency, the implicated cop allegedly supplied his accomplices with the bolt cutters which made it easy to cut the electricity cables from the main grid.
The cop, Jacob Mazungunye (29) who is stationed at ZRP Sakubva; Munyaradzi Nyamukungwa (37), a soldier with ZNA 3 Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Company; Frank Nyahando (23) of Tenderere, Sakubva, and Peter Zuze (36) of Area 14 in Dangamvura were charged with contravening Section 60A (3) (b) of the Electricity Amendment Act, Chapter 13:19. Detectives are looking for the fifth suspect who disappeared following the arrest of his accomplices.
The arrested suspects were brought to court separately on different dates.
They appeared before Mutare magistrates, Mr Langton Carter and Ms Prisca Manhibi and were remanded in custody.
Allegations were that on December 22, Nyahando and his accomplices Zuze and Nyamukungwa hatched a plan to vandalise and steal ZETDC transformer windings at Bingaguru Farm in Penhalonga.
They were using a vehicle that was being driven by Nyamukungwa.
Armed with various spanners, mattock, a bolt cutter and a shovel, the suspects went to the farm and cut two cables which were connecting the transformer to the meter box and the supply line.
They hid the cables in the bush. Thereafter, they went on to vandalise the transformer. However, this alerted a security guard who raised alarm.
The accused persons ran away with the loot.
The court heard that after some searches around the crime scene, the security guard discovered that one of the suspects had left behind a pair of black sandals.
A report was made to the police who swiftly reacted and made follow ups before arresting Nyahando who was now walking on foot.
Upon interrogation, he confessed stealing the cables together with his accomplices who had ran away.
He told the cops that at times they would carry out the heists with Mazungunye and a ZETDC employee who drives a company lorry.
As investigations intensified, the suspect led the cops to Kondozi Farm where he voluntarily made positive indications confirming the theft of armoured copper cables at the farm in 2019.
He also led detectives to Greencroft Farm in Chigodora and confessed that he stole copper cables there in 2020.
Upon further interrogation, he told the cops that he always supplied the loot to Mazungunye.
On December 28, Zuze was arrested at his house.
A search was conducted and the cops recovered a bolt cutter, catapult, rubber gloves, two spanners, a hacksaw and a machete which were allegedly used to commit the crimes.
He told the cops that sometime in June 2019, he met Mazungunye at Green Market and they agreed to work together to steal copper cables.
In October 2019, Zuze teamed up with Nyahando and went to Gumbo Farm in Odzi where they cut and stole copper cables.
They phoned Mazungunye and met him at Makoni Turn-off in Riverside. He bought the copper cables for US$60.
The suspects continued doing this and the cop would always turn up and buy the loot.
Cables valued at $500 000 were stolen by the suspects.