SUSPECTED habitual thieves ran out of luck after they were nabbed trying to sell stolen chairs to PHD ministries founded by clergyman Walter Magaya.
The three who are employed as caretaker, gardener and mechanic allegedly connived and stole 13 000 chairs worth more than RTGS$100 000 from their employer who is in the events management business.
Geselda Katema (35), James Chiuje (25) and Simbarashe Chiputu (39) had planned to sell their loot to unsuspecting clients including Magaya given their employer would not notice as she owns hundreds of thousands of chairs.
However, the three then tried to sell the chairs to a regular customer PHD ministries. A representative of the church identified the chairs and alerted the complainant who in turn reported the matter to the police.
The three appeared in court before magistrate Richard Ramaboa charged with theft of trust property. They were released on RTGS $400 bail each, coupled with some conditions and are due back in court on April 30.
Prosecuting, Moses Mapanga alleged that sometime last year, the complainant, Chipo Mazhindu noticed on different occasions that her chairs which she hires out, were missing.
She decided to conduct an audit this month, after she kept noticing a decrease in the number of her chairs. It is alleged that she then discovered that 13 000 chairs were missing.
Mazhindu, the court heard, confronted Katema since she was the caretaker but she denied any involvement in the theft.
On April 20, a man identified as Kamuzunguzeni representing PHD, was looking for chairs to buy for their church.
He was then directed by a colleague to Chiuje who was said to be selling chairs. Apparently, Kamuzunguzeni had business relations with Mazhindu as their church used to hire chairs from her.
Arrangement for Kamuzunguzeni and Chiuje to meet along Seke Road were made so that he could see the chairs.
It is the State’s case that after meeting with Chiuje, Katema and Chiputu later joined them before they all proceeded to a place in Hatfield where the chairs were said to be stored.
Upon arrival at the said house, Kamuzunguzeni was showed the chairs and was interested.
While they were being loaded in a truck, Kamuzunguzeni identified them and immediately called Mazhindu who rushed to the scene with her husband.
Mazhindu identified the 260 chairs which had been loaded in the truck before taking the trio to the police.
According to the State, the three led police to the recovery of more than 200 chairs in Eastview where they had sold them to two people identified as Kuda Bininga and Martin Chirombe.