A 71-year-old security guard in Lupane has been sentenced to 30 months in jail after he used a duplicate set of keys to break into a supermarket on various occasions and stole groceries.
Moses Ndlovu of Mpofu village outside Lupane Centre was employed as a security guard at #57 Bar.
He broke into Friserve Investment supermarket on various occasions between August 18 and last Thursday and stole mealie meal, flour, beans and beef among other grocery items.
Ndlovu, a father of 13, was arrested when workers at the shop who were puzzled by mysterious disappearance of goods, hatched a plan to lay an ambush at night.
He pleaded guilty to unlawful entry in aggravating circumstances when he appeared before Lupane resident magistrate Mr Ndumo Masuku.
The magistrate said the crime was premeditated making Ndlovu’s moral blameworthiness high.
“The accused gained entry in aggravating circumstances which entails violation of other people’s rights. He used a duplicate key to open the complainant’s shop and stole various grocery items on several occasions. The offence was well calculated and premeditated as he used the same modus operandi to open the premises on several occasions.
“At 71 and as a senior citizen, the accused was expected to be a role model to the younger generation and as a watchman he was supposed to display a high degree of responsibility. As such the court is of the view that community service will be too light in this case,” said the magistrate before slapping Ndlovu with 30 months in jail.
Ndlovu will however serve an effective 24 months after the magistrate suspended six months for five years on condition of good behavior.
Prosecuting, Mr Clive Gumbo said the owner of the shop Mr Talent Kembo who is the complainant noticed the anomaly and hatched a plan to catch the thief.
“During the period extending from 18 August 2020 to 27 August 2020 Moses Ndlovu went to Friserve Investment and opened the closed door using a homemade key and gained entry through the door.
He stole 7x10kg mealie meal and 3x2kg flour and went away,” said the prosecutor.
Mr Tembo and Ms Phumuzile Moyo, one of workers, remained in the shop last week Thursday after other workers knocked off and they laid an ambush.
On Friday around 3.30am, they saw Ndlovu approaching the shop and unlocking the front door, the court was told.
While inside, Ndlovu went to the butchery and took 2kg of beef before taking 10×500 grammes of beans.
The court was told that Mr Tembo and Ms Moyo rushed to the door and closed it while Ndlovu was still inside and called for backup.
A security guard from a nearby bar heard the noise and rushed to the scene before arresting Ndlovu who was handed over to the police.
The total value of stolen groceries was $4 450 and $1 050 worth of goods were recovered.
The duplicate key was also recovered.