Three police officers have appeared before a Magistrate’s court facing charges of theft and vandalism after they were caught stealing power cables.
A report made to the ZRP indicated that accused one Constable Rodrick Tavuyanago was wearing his police uniform while accused two Constable Tapiwa Taruberekera and accused three Constable Kudzai Wemba were in civilian attire when the cut about 34 meters of ZESA overhead 2,5mm copper cables and 76metres of gauge single-core valued at US$7 000.
Court papers allege that on the 13th of March 2022 at around 0200hours an informant, Nelson Mushaurwa of house number 8460 Pumula East was asleep when he was awakened by a sound of something being pulled outside his yard. The informant woke up and realized that there was no electricity in the neighborhood but some houses close by had electricity, the informant then shouted to alert other residents who then teamed up with other residents who had awakened.
One of the residents Smart Dube a man aged 40years residing at house number 8461 Pumula East, Bulawayo, and is unemployed informed the other residents that there is a trail of copper cables being pulled near his place of residence. The residents then teamed up following the trail which was leading towards a bushy area. The team then separated with Smart Dube driving his motor vehicle registration to check for the accused person along the road nearby.
Court papers indicated that the residents followed the trail and discovered about 34metres of ZESA overhead 2,5mm copper cables and 76metres of gauge single-core dumped in a nearby maize field and continued to search for the accused persons and Smart Dube who was in the company of one passenger using his motor vehicle came across Constable Tapiwa Taruberekera’s vehicle a silver Toyota Starlet registration which was parked near the bushy area with the three suspects seated in the motor vehicle.
Smart Dube asked the suspect what they were doing and who they were and the three accused persons informed him that they were police officers on duty. Only Constable Tavuyanago was in police uniform putting on a grey shirt, riot trousers, and black combat shoes without a stu cap.
The suspects started assaulting Smart Dube accusing him of being a thief. At that moment the passenger who was seated in Smart Dube’s vehicle managed to reverse the motor vehicle and rushed to inform the residents that Smart Dube was being assaulted. The residents then came and demanded to see police identity documents if indeed they were police officers but the suspects could not produce any.
The court heard that whilst the residents were interrogating the suspects one of the residents Pretty Kamwara, a woman aged 45 phoned the other residents informing them that she had picked up a police STU CAP and a wallet constable Tapiwa Taruberekera’s national identity card and bank cards at the scene of the crime. Realizing that one of the suspects was putting on a police uniform without a cap the residents became angry and started assaulting the three suspects.
The court also heard that ZRP Pumula attended to the scene and found Constable Kudzai Wemba and Constable Rodrick Tavuyanago seated in Smart Dube’s vehicle surrounded by the mob but Constable Tapiwa Taruberekera’s had managed to drive away.
It was discovered that about 350 meters of ZESA overhead copper conductors and gauge single-core were cut, stolen and about 56 meters were left hanging.
All the accused remain in custody and are expected in court soon.