THREE armed robbers who terrorised residents in different parts of the country between 2009 and 2010 were on Saturday sentenced to jail terms ranging between 10 and 22 years each when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya sitting in Mutare.
The gang leader, Pardon Munetsi, was sentenced to 22 years on three counts of armed robbery, while his accomplices Taurai Simango Bieni and Edmore Mangenje got 12 and 10 years each for the same offences.
State charges were that on December 17, 2009, Munetsi stormed a service station at Murambinda Business Centre in Buhera and robbed the attendant of $646 at gunpoint before he sped off in his Toyota Corolla vehicle.
A month later, Munetsi, Bieni and Benjamin Ruzvidzo (still at large) waylaid a Savanna Tobacco Company employee, Norman Muchetu, at Murehwa Business Centre and took away his truck and 29 boxes of cigarettes worth $35 070.
The gang drove towards Nyamapanda Border Post with their getaway car behind.
After the incident, Muchetu immediately made a police report, leading to the recovery of the getaway car dumped by the roadside.
The Savanna truck was recovered four months later after it was found parked in Rusape.
On April 24 2010, Munetsi approached a Masvingo taxi driver identified as Kudakwashe Mataragombe, and indicated that he wanted to be dropped in Rujeko suburb.
Along the way, his accomplices boarded the taxi at the corner of Mhizha and Chiremwaremwa streets in Rujeko before they grabbed the taxi driver and demanded cash from him.
They produced a pistol, but the taxi driver hooted his vehicle and drove at high speed, prompting a reaction from members of the public.
The gang jumped off the vehicle and left behind their firearm. Police detectives then took the firearm to the Forensic Ballistic in Harare for examination and it was established that the spent cartridges from other counts matched the serial number of the pistol.
Malvern Musarurwa prosecuted.