JUST IN: $100 000 thieves arrested after whatsapp investigation

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A VICTORIA Falls businessman who had lost goods worth more than $100 000 to thieves who broke into his shop used WhatsApp groups to circulate messages alerting members of the public about the theft resulting in the arrest of one of the thieves.

Mr Lewis Mangaba discovered that his shop in the industrial area had been broken into on February 13 and reported the matter to the police.

He also circulated messages on various WhatsApp groups alerting people about the stolen property and on Monday he received a call from a cellphone dealer who had spotted Nkosilathi Masuku (44) selling some of the stolen goods.

Mr Mangaba alerted police who arrested Masuku of 1302 Chinotimba while his alleged accomplice Thabani Moyo is still at large.

Masuku pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful entry when he appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa.

The magistrate slapped Masuku with 36 months in jail before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour within five years.

A further six months were suspended on condition that Masuku restitutes $36 669.40, being the value of goods that were not recovered.

Property worth $66 732 was recovered after the arrest of Masuku.

Prosecuting, Mr Asher Chindedza said Masuku broke some padlocks to gain entry into Mr Mangaba’s shop at night. He stole a laptop, an infrared thermometer used for Covid-19 screening, two batteries, 15 cellphone screen guards, 40kg of mealie meal, 100kg of potatoes, 15 crates of tomatoes, packet of kapenta fish, beans and sachets of herbal medicine.

“On the 12th of February the complainant secured his shop by locking it using two padlocks as he went home. The accused proceeded to the complainant’s shop and used an iron bar to break the padlocks to gain entry and stole various kinds of goods,” said Mr Chindedza.

He said the complainant discovered the offence the following morning and reported the matter to the police before also alerting members of the public on WhatsApp platform.

On Monday Mr Mangaba received information that Masuku was selling some cellphone screen guards at Comesa Market and went to check.

He positively identified his property and alerted the police who arrested Masuku.

The total value of stolen property was $103 401,40.

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