Two men’s robbery spree targeting unsuspecting taxi drivers whom they dispossessed of their vehicles, cash and other valuables ended spectacularly in Mutare recently when a courageous victim grabbed the firearm they were using, only to discover it was a toy.
For the offence, the accused have since been denied bail by a Mutare magistrate’s court.
Brighton Kasamba (22) of Harare and Kelvin Maunde (27) of Chikanga, Mutare, allegedly targeted taxi drivers.
On Monday, the two appeared before Mutare magistrate, Ms Prisca Manhibi, who remanded them in custody to January 25 because they were considered a flight risk.
The two are facing robbery charges as defined in Section 126 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ms Tafadzwa Chiwanza prosecuted.
It was the State’s case that the pair robbed three taxi drivers of their vehicles, phones and cash before driving the vehicles to Harare and Guruve where they sold them.
The first complainant, Tendayi Chitanda, parked his Honda Fit at the Chikanga rank while looking for customers on May 31, last year at around 2000hrs.
Kasamba approached him pretending to be a genuine client who wanted to be ferried to Fairbridge Park.
Before they left the central business district (CBD), Kasamba asked if Chitanda could pick his “younger brother” at the Old Harare rank where Maunde had supposedly disembarked from a bus that had come from Harare.
Chitanda did as instructed and Maunde got into the taxi and sat at the back seat.
“When they got to 12 Shelly Street, Fairbridge Park, Kasamba claimed they had arrived at their destination and instructed the driver to stop.
“Maunde then produced a toy pistol and pointed it at Chitanda’s head while demanding keys to the vehicle and other valuables,” said Ms Chiwanza.
Kasamba also produced a knife and placed it on Chitanda’s neck.
He removed Chitanda’s shoes, took the shoelaces and used them to tie the taxi driver’s hands and legs before bundling him into the back seat.
“The duo took Chitanda’s money, a smartphone, a bank card and the car keys.
“Kasamba got into the driver’s seat and drove towards Harare Road. They dumped Chitanda at Christmas Pass before proceeding to Guruve where they sold the car for US$2 000 and shared the money,” stated the State papers.
The pair also reportedly robbed two more taxi drivers of their Honda Fit vehicles using the same modus operandi.
However, luck ran out for them on their third robbery attempt as the complainant, Shupai Madari, managed to grab the fake firearm while it was pointed to his head.
Madari was kicked off the vehicle and the two drove off.
Madari hitch-hiked to Mutare Central Police Station and made a police report. He handed over the toy pistol to the police.
Investigations were carried out and arrests were made.
Only two motor vehicles worth a combined US$6 000 have been recovered so far.
The value of the outstanding vehicle is US$3 000.