Couple jailed for lockdown robbery
A HARARE couple who claimed they went on a robbery spree during the lockdown period to sustain their family has been jailed for one year, the Daily News reports.
Rodrick Muchaka, 27, and his wife Shalom Mulauzi, 22, of Retreat, Waterfalls pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful entry when they appeared before Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba yesterday.
They were each sentenced to 34 months’ imprisonment before 12 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour and a further 10 months were set aside if they compensated the first complainant $1 422,50 and $525 by June 30.
Muchaka and his wife will serve an effective one year, leaving three minor children and his visually-impaired mother who are currently in the care of neighbours.
He claimed that Mulauzi had taken over the family’s responsibilities as she earned a living from panel beating in Mbare, but had been grounded by the lockdown.
“We wanted to raise money for medication that had been prescribed for my ailing mother and also for food for our minor children.
“I have not been working and my wife took over since she was getting a bit of money from her work,” Muchaka said.
“Unfortunately, since the lockdown, we have been struggling and we apologise to the complainants but it was a gesture of desperation. May the courts pardon us,” said Muchaka.
Mashamba said the couple had premeditated the offence and a non-custodial sentence was not justified under the circumstances.
“The accused persons have not wasted the court’s time and pleaded guilty to the offence. However, they sat down as husband and wife and planned to steal from innocent citizens during the lockdown,” Mashamba said.
“They defied President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call to stay at home for 21 days and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The court’s hands are tied and a custodial sentence will be imposed.”
They stole a 33-inch plasma television set, solar batteries, jungle booster, two speakers, eight blankets, three gas tanks, 50kg of maize, plates, cups and dishes valued at $20 585.
When they were arrested detectives recovered property valued at $17 740 at their residence.
On the second incident, the couple went to Concillia Chipunza’s residence on April 4 and stole groceries and assorted property worth $18 530. Property worth $17 480 was recovered.