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Thieves swap stolen car for three donkeys

By Mashudu Netsianda

Two Bulawayo men who stole a car, which had been abandoned by a drunken driver after it ran out of fuel and traded it in for three donkeys and a cart, were on Friday sentenced to a combined 12 years in jail.

Michael Moyo (26) and Leeroy Sibanda (22) both of Old Pumula suburb stole a Toyota Ipsum at an open space near Pumula High School.

They fuelled the vehicle and drove it to Tsholotsho where they approached one Mr Gadzirai Ncube and agreed to swap the car for three donkeys and a cart in addition to R6 000.

Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Mark Dzira convicted Moyo and Sibanda of theft of a motor vehicle and sentenced them to six years in jail each.

The two will each serve an effective four years in jail after two years were suspended for five years on condition that they don’t commit a similar offence within that period.

In passing the sentence, Mr Dzira said the two accused persons’ moral blameworthiness is high.

He condemned their conduct saying their actions were driven by greed.

“You stole the complainant’s car and theft of a motor vehicle is a serious offence. Although the complainant was reckless by leaving his car unattended with keys in the ignition, there was no justification for the accused persons to enrich themselves by stealing the vehicle,” said Mr Dzira.

“Your actions were driven by greed and as such your moral blameworthiness is very high. The fact that you stole the vehicle and exchanged it for three donkeys and a cart in addition to R6 000 clearly shows that you did not attach any value to the car but simply wanted to get rid of it.”

Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa said on April 27 at about 5.30PM, the complainant Mr Keith Tshuma left his house in Mpopoma and drove to Pumula North using his friend’s car, a Toyota Ipsum.

The court heard that upon arrival in Pumula North, the car ran out of fuel and Mr Tshuma who was drunk, decided to leave it at an open space near Pumula High School.

“The complainant left the car unattended with keys in the ignition port as he intended to look for fuel from a nearby shopping centre but he failed to get it,” said Mr Manyiwa.

When Mr Tshuma tried to return to the area where he had left the car, he got lost along the way since he was in a drunken stupor and decided to proceed to his home to sleep.

The court heard that the two accused persons spotted the vehicle and stole it.

The court heard that when the complainant returned to where he had left the car, he discovered that it was missing and immediately reported the matter to the police.

On May 6, detectives received information that the stolen car was being kept at Mr Ncube’s homestead at Chaser Forest in Tsholotsho.

“The detectives then proceeded to Mr Ncube’s homestead and recovered the stolen car parked in the yard. Upon being interviewed, Mr Ncube revealed that he bought the car from the accused persons after swapping with three donkeys and cart in addition to R6 000, which he was yet to pay on an agreed date,” said Mr Manyiwa.

Mr Ncube led detectives to the accused persons’ house leading to their arrest and subsequent recovery of the vehicle accessories which included hydraulic car jack and a wheel spanner.

The accused persons also led police to a house in Old Pumula where they sold the three donkeys and cart. The value of the stolen property is $125 000. The Chronicle