By Thandeka Moyo
THREE Bulawayo men who are part of a six-man gang which robbed Trek Petroleum Service on Monday at gunpoint and got away with $161,926 and R59,100, appeared in court yesterday.
The trio pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges.
Lucky Chipeta, 22, who was employed by Trek, his stepfather Casper Thebe, 55, and Greeta Ngwenya, 44, allegedly connived with Lobhoni Ndlovu, Thabani and Fazo who are all on the run and robbed the company at around 9AM.
Their accomplices who are on the run allegedly gave them only about $15,000 and fled to South Africa with the rest of the loot.
The three men told regional magistrate Chrispen Mberewere that they could not account for all the money as they only got about $5,000 each as payment after the robbery.
“You participated in the armed robbery and contributed in different ways and thus you will be equally charged for robbing Trek of $161,926 and R59,100. The court finds you guilty as charged and you will be back on November 25 so we give the State enough time to check if any of you has previous convictions before we sentence you,” said Magistrate Mberewere before remanding them in custody.
For the State, Trust Muduma said sometime this month, the three men hatched a plan to rob the petroleum company. Chipeta as the inside man, provided information to Thebe on the movement of cash from all Bulawayo Trek garages to the bank for depositing. He also supplied the days and the security set up around the transportation of the money.
On November 17 at around 6.30AM, Philani Musimuko who is a driver at Trek reported for duty along Fort Street and 15th Avenue. He teamed up with his assistant Pilate Ndlovu and they collected $161,926 and R59,100 from all Trek stations in Bulawayo.
They then put the money in a satchel intending to drive off to the bank.
They were approached by Ngwenya, while the other three men who are still at large remained seated in a Honda getaway car.
Ngwenya then drew a firearm.
He pointed it at Musimuko demanding money and his accomplice struck the company driver on the head with an iron bar. Musimuko felt dizzy and staggered away from his vehicle and Ngwenya grabbed the satchel containing the money and fled to the get-away vehicle.
The men drove to a house in Sizinda intending to share the money.
While fleeing, Ndlovu accidentally dropped his Nokia cellphone.
The Trek driver’s assistant picked up the phone and detectives who were investigating the robbery were led to Nomusa Nyoni from New Magwegwe who said she had given her cellphone line to Ngwenya, her boyfriend.
Acting on the information, detectives tracked the Honda vehicle which belongs to Lungisani Tshuma, Ngwenya’s live-in girlfriend from Sizinda.
Ngwenya was arrested and he led detectives to his third girlfriend Talent Thebe from Cowdray Park who had been given some of the money.
On November 18, detectives arrested Thebe and later Chipeta. Of the money stolen, only $12,434 and R2,200 has been recovered. Chronicle