A MARONDERA farmer was arrested following the death of a suspected thief he allegedly tied to a tree, before assaulting him to death with a fan belt, after catching him red-handed stealing tomatoes.
Gabriel Chapwanya of Plot 13, Golden Acres Farm is currently assisting police with investigations, following the death of Luckmore Piyo (41) who died upon arrival at Marondera Provincial Hospital after the assault.
Mashonaland East province acting police spokesperson assistant inspector Tendai Mwanza confirmed the incident and warned the public to desist from taking the law into their own hands.
“Police arrested a suspect who allegedly assaulted a man from Mukuti who later died after he had intercepted him carrying a bucket of tomatoes he had allegedly stolen from him. The public must not take the law into their hands and mete instant justice on offenders. Citizen arrest is justified by law and once the offender has been arrested, police must be informed and take over the matter. Those who take the law into their own hands will be held accountable and face justice,” he said.
According to police, on February 27, at around 1am the now deceased went to the suspect’s homestead and allegedly stole a bucket of tomatoes. It is reported that Chapwanya woke up, after being alerted by an unusual noise from the storeroom, before manhandling Piyo.
It is said Piyo was subdued, had both hands and legs tied by a rope, before he was assaulted by a car fan belt all over the body. It is reported that the now-deceased was left in the open while still tied.
In the morning, Chapwanya then approached a police officer, who was patrolling the area and informed him that he had arrested a thief. The officer went to the homestead and discovered that the now-deceased was weak and struggling to speak before untying him.
Piyo was rushed to Marondera hospital after he had become unconscious and was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Chapwanya was arrested and the deceased’s body was conveyed to the mortuary for post-mortem.