A 21-year-old Mutare man who stole a vehicle from a panel beating garage and re-sprayed it to avoid detection was nabbed during a joy ride after the car ran out of fuel.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda, confirmed the arrest of Ngonidzashe Matyora of Devonshire, Sakubva.
Matyora is facing theft charges as defined in Section 113 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
Inspector Chananda said Marvelous Matare’s motor vehicle was stolen on February 19.
It is alleged that on February 14, Matare left her motor vehicle, a silver Subaru Legacy B4, at Partlane Engineering Panel Beaters for repairs.
She handed over the car keys to the panel beater, Daniel Musvingi.
Musvingi placed the keys inside an unlocked broken down bus where he ordinarily keeps keys for all the vehicles undergoing repairs.
Inspector Chananda said on February 19, the garage’s security guard, Polite Mutimba, noticed that the reverse lights of the Subaru were on. He went to investigate.
Matyora was behind the wheel and sped off towards Riverside Drive.
Mutimba ran after the vehicle shouting for help, but could not catch up with it.
Mutimba then called his employer.
A report was made at ZRP Mutare Central.
Investigations conducted by detectives from the Vehicle Theft Squad revealed that the complainant had not changed ownership of the car as it was still registered in the name of Valentine Muradzikwa of Dangamvura.
On March 5, detectives received information that Matyora had been spotted driving the stolen motor vehicle in Chikanga.
“Information was dispatched to all roadblocks and on the same day at around 8.30am, the motor vehicle was spotted by the police officers manning the St Joseph’s/Sakubva roadblock. The car had no number plates,” said Inspector Chananda.
However, Matyora evaded the roadblock and drove towards Chikanga Phase 3.
Along the way, the car ran out of fuel and Matyora went to look for fuel.
“The cops who were making a follow-up on foot decided to ambush him. After about two hours, Matyora returned to the vehicle carrying a five-litre container with petrol. He was immediately arrested. He was also found in possession of the car keys,” said Inspector Chananda. Matare was invited to CID Mutare where she positively identified the vehicle through the third number plate as well as the engine and chassis numbers.
The number plates of the vehicle were recovered inside the car and it was discovered that Matyora had changed the original paint of the vehicle from silver to blue.