A member of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is alleged to have lost his service pistol after thieves forced open his bedroom window and stole the gun while he was asleep in the dining room, it emerged in court on Thursday.
The stolen weapon is believed to have been used in a spate of armed robberies and murders targeting businesspeople in Chitungwiza and Ruwa respectively.
Justin Momera (35) is appearing before Harare provincial magistrate, Archie Wochiunga, on a charge of unlawful entry into premises, a crime he allegedly committed almost two years ago.
Momera is also facing a number of other charges such as armed robbery and murder.
According to prosecutor Memory Mukapa, on November 29 2009, Momera teamed up with his accomplices who are still at large and proceeded to Justin Simbarashe Matonhodze’s house in Houghton Park at around 4am.
It is alleged that prior to the incident, Matonhodze had arrived home at around midnight and secured his service pistol with nine rounds in the headboard drawer in his bedroom.
The court heard Matonhodze proceeded into his dining room where he watched television and fell asleep on a sofa.
Momera is alleged to have forced open the bedroom window by cutting the burglar bars. He entered the room, stole the gun and left.
It is alleged Momera then used the weapon to commit murders in Chitungwiza and Ruwa where he targeted businesspeople and robbed unsuspecting victims.
Momera’s luck ran out on March 2 this year when homicide detectives received information of his whereabouts and tracked him to Bindura.
He was arrested in Chiwaridzo Township and was allegedly found in possession of the stolen pistol, which was positively identified by the complainant.
In his defence, Momera pleaded not guilty to the charge and told the court that he was a victim of circumstances.
Momera said the pistol was not recovered from him by the police, but from other suspects in Ruwa. The trial continues next Tuesday.