By Abel Zhakata
In an unusual theft case that left villagers in Chipinge stunned, a 45-year-old man from Mabheka stole a 2 500-litre JoJo plastic water tank, dug a deep hole in his garden and concealed the loot.
For nearly two years, the owner of the stolen tank and detectives struggled to recover it with no tangible leads to solve the case.
The matter only came to light recently after a whistleblower tipped the police that Maxwell Chaita, who lives near Gomondoni Mountain, stole the tank and hid it underground in his garden.
Circumstances to the case were that sometime in June 2017, the tank, which was mounted and filled with water at Enhook Estate in Chipinge, was dismantled and stolen.
Chipinge CID spokesman Detective Assistant Inspector Daniel Mhini said concerted efforts to recover the stolen property yielded nothing then.
“On November 15, detectives received information that the suspect was the culprit who stole the JoJo tank and concealed it underground in his field about 50 metres from his homestead,” he said.
“Detectives swiftly reacted to the information and pounced at Chaita’s homestead and demanded a search in his field. Guided by the informative description of the homestead, the detectives examined the environment of the homestead and discovered a spot of red subsoil surrounded by black top soil. The cops became suspicious and asked for help from nearby villagers who quickly offered to assist,” said the detective
They dug up the spot and after about a depth of 15cm they discovered the water tank.
Soon after the stunning recovery a manhunt for the suspect was activated.
He was subsequently arrested and during interrogation Chaita confessed to stealing the water tank.
He said he wanted to mount it at his rural home in Birchenough Bridge and that he intended to transport it after 10 years when residents would have lost memory of the theft.
Chaita appeared at the Chipinge Magistrates’ Courts facing theft charges and was remanded in custody awaiting trial. ManicaPost