A 24-year-old man was yesterday sentenced to an effective 10 years imprisonment for committing a spate of armed robberies targeting service stations in and around Harare. Tatenda Chimutanda was also sentenced for unlawful entry and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Harare magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa sentenced him to 10 years for armed robbery and suspended two years on condition that he does not commit similar offences in five years.
He also sentenced him to a further 23 months for unlawful entry and unlawful possession of a firearm and suspended five months on condition that he does not commit similar offences within five years.
Chimutanda will serve an effective nine years six months. Prosecutor Ms Tinashe Makiya told the court that on August 20 Chimutanda, a former employee of Afdis in Nyanga, called his former workmate Gideon Mironga, a guard at Troutbeck Cottages and lied that a parcel for his workmate Kevin Tombo had been delivered at the main gate.
Mironga then left his guard point and went to the main gate to collect it. Chimutanda used a fireguard at the premises to unlawfully enter the premises and went to Tombo’s house where he broke in and stole a 22 calibre Smith and Wesson revolver, serial number 705360.
On August 25, at around 2am, the accused went to Zuva Service Station in Southerton, Harare, armed with the revolver. He approached Milton Shereni who was on duty and told him that he wanted fuel worth $3 while holding a five-litre plastic container.
Shereni was offered the money and filled the container before Chimutanda drew the revolver and ordered him to surrender all the cash he had in possession. Shereni told Chimutanda that he had no money except for the $3. He ordered Shereni to fill the container and fled.
On August 26, he approached Elias Chivasa who was on duty at Engen Service Station in Glen View 8 at around 2:30am and purported to purchase fuel valued at $2 using the same modus operandi.
The complainant first refused, but the accused said he wanted the fuel to ferry his sick mother to hospital. He then complied but Chimutanda drew a revolver and made him surrender $258 he had in his possession. On August 31 at around 3am, he approached Admire Daitiro who was at Total Service Station along Simon Mazorodze Road in Mbare.
He pointed the revolver at a security guard Malvin Denhere who was manning the service station ordering him to surrender the money they had. Denhere pushed the accused who fell to the ground before firing a single shot into the air. Daitiro tried to run away but was pursued and ordered to surrender the $220 he had in his possession.
On the same day Chimutanda approached Dominic Semba who was on duty at Trek Service Station along Chiremba Road. Accused robbed his victims of a total of $485 of which $211 was recovered.