A FORMER soldier from Bulawayo allegedly broke into a butchery twice and stole meat worth $18 536.
Tafadzwa Mahlahla (35) from Pumula East suburb, who was based at Imbizo Barracks in Bulawayo before retirement, was arrested after he had allegedly opened a mini-butchery to sell the loot.
Mahlahla pleaded not guilty to two counts of unlawful entry and theft charge before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Urgent Vundla.
The magistrate remanded him in custody to November 30 for continuation of trial.
Mahlahla said the meat was for a funeral. “I bought the meat from Sindiso Moyo for a funeral that was at our place. I didn’t steal it,” he said.
For the State, Ms Sithembiso Moyo said on June 27 and September 23 this year, Mahlahla allegedly broke into Mr Prince Tshuma’s butchery at night and stole meat.
“On the first count, the accused person broke into Empire Butchery using an unknown object to gain entrance into the shop and stole 70kg of beef, 62,3 kg of chicken, 45kg of sausages, 30 kg of liver, 24kg of tripe, 12kg of lungs, 15kg of chicken feet, 18kg of oxtail and 22kg of gizzards worth $7 740 and went away,” she said. “Count two, on September 23 at night, the accused person used the same method of breaking into the shop and stole 80kg of beef meat, 17kg of chicken cuts, 25kg of sausages, 15kgs of liver, 25kg of lungs, 100 plastic bags and two white trays all worth a combined $10 792 and went away.”
Ms Moyo said on September 24, police received a tip-off that Mahlahla had opened a mini butchery at his place. “Upon arrival, they found the gates and doors locked. They gained entry into the house where they found the accused person busy packing meat into small packs and arrested him,” she said.
The total value of the stolen property is $ 18 532 and property worth $ 1 040 was recovered.