POLICE in Gokwe have arrested a suspected motor vehicle thief believed to have stolen a Mercedes Benz Sprinter vehicle valued at R800 000 from Pretoria, South Africa and hid it in the Midlands town.
The vehicle was recovered last month after the owner, identified as Von Backstrom, posted its pictures on Facebook, in a desperate move to recover her car.
The accused, Norman Mawarire, was not asked to plead to motor vehicle theft allegations when he appeared before Gokwe magistrate Sithembile Zungula on Friday.
He was remanded in custody to December 27 pending further investigations. Mawarire (34) was advised to apply for bail at the High Court after the investigating officer Tawanda Hari opposed bail saying he was likely to abscond and flee to South Africa.
The State alleges that on October 13 this year, Mawarire connived with his brother Charles, and Mpofu brothers, Tafadzwa and Benjamin, to steal from Backstrom.
As part of the scheme, Tafadzwa allegedly approached Backstrom and asked to test drive her vehicle and the latter complied.
Thereafter, Tafadzwa drove off and handed the vehicle to his accomplices Benjamin, Norman and Charles, who took it to Gokwe and fraudulently registered it at the Central Vehicle Registration offices in Harare.
The State alleges after affixing the vehicle with new registration plates, Norman used the vehicle as a pirate taxi on the Gokwe-Manoti Road, before police recovered it on December 11 this year after discovering that the vehicle was listed on Interpol NCB data base as stolen.
Maxwell Tapfira appeared for the State. NewsDay