A habitual thief from Tsholotsho who used a spoon to break into the same shop through the same window on six different occasions and stole groceries and airtime worth over $20 000 shocked a court when he blamed Satan for his criminal activities.
But the court rubbished the burglar Nqobile Moyo (20)’s lame excuse and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.
This was after he was convicted of six counts of unlawful entry into premises and six counts of theft by Tsholotsho resident magistrate Victor Mpofu.
He will, however, spend an effective of eight years behind bars after two years of his jail package was suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit similar crimes.
For the State, prosecutor Billiard Muguwu told the court that on the night of 22 January this year and at around 11pm Moyo armed himself with a spoon and went to Jonathan Ndebele (36)’s shop at Ntulula Business Centre in Tsholotsho.
Upon arrival he forced open one of the shop windows and got inside. While inside he took a Samsung cell phone, 16 x 200mls Skippers cane spirit, 5x500g biscuits, 65x Netone juice cards and 26x$10 Econet juice cards, altogether worth $7 350.
On 9 February at around 10 pm the accused person went to the complainant’s shop and used a spoon again to force open the same window and took 10x500ml Pepsi drinks, 6x200ml Clere body lotion, 25x500g hello snacks, 16x$10 Netone juice cards and the stolen items were valued at $5 500.
The court heard that on 11 May at around 10pm using the same modus operandi, Moyo again broke into Ndebele’s shop and took 6x500ml maheu, 5x200g chunks, 5x2kg sugar, 21x$10 Netone juice cards and the stolen items were valued at $4 500.
The court proved that on 15 April, Moyo again went to Ndebele’s shop armed with a spoon and forced open the same window and stole groceries and airtime worth $3 700.
The stolen items include 4x2kg rice, 15x500g hello snacks, 18x$10 net one juice cards and 22x$5 Econet juice cards.
On 22 May at around 11pm a daring Moyo struck again at Ndebele’s shop and took 4x2litre cooking oil, 5x500g peanut butter, seven loaves of bread, 27x$10 Netone juice cards and a speaker box, all valued at $5 500.
Having made it a habit to break into Ndebele’s shop using the same spoon and window, on 8 June at around 11pm Moyo again took 16x200g maputi, 5x500ml milk and 4x500g salt.
His luck, however, ran out on 22 June when police arrested him and recovered a speaker box, Samsung cell phone and a few groceries from his house.
Moyo admitted to stealing the items and when asked why he committed the offence, Moyo told the magistrate that the devil had possessed him and instructed him to commit the crime.
In coming up with the sentence the magistrate considered that the accused’s conduct was far from repentance as he repeatedly broke into the complainant’s business premises. He said this was an act of economic sabotage on the innocent complainant who was trying to make ends meet in a distressed economy.