Triple crash car thief on trial

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter

THE trial of one of the three men from Bulawayo who allegedly stole a vehicle and hit three vehicles as he tried to escape before an angry mob attacked him, has kicked off.

Wilber Gundane (24) from Iminyela suburb allegedly tried to speed off in a stolen Honda Fit vehicle that belongs to Mr Febias Chizhande (25).

The car was parked at the corner 10th Avenue and George Silundika Street on June 25 at around 8PM. Gundane yesterday appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate, Mr Joseph Mabeza, facing a theft charge.

He was remanded in custody to today for continuation of trial.

Prosecuting, Ms Caroline Matanga said on June 25 at around 8PM, the accused person ganged up with Lovemore Moyo (42) and Kwanele Mfundisi Ndebele (27) and hatched a plan to steal Mr Chizhande’s car.

They went to corner 10th Avenue and George Silundika Street where they spotted the complainant sitting inside his vehicle playing music from the car radio.

They approached him pretending to be customers intending to buy some foodstuff from his stall as he is a vendor.

“The complainant got out of the car intending to attend to them, leaving the keys in the ignition port. While the complainant was attending to Ndebele, Gundane went to the car, got into the driver’s seat and tried to start the engine,” said Ms Matanga.

On noticing that his car was being stolen, Mr Chizhande rushed to the car and grabbed the steering wheel from outside. “Gundane finally managed to start the motor vehicle and drove towards Robert Mugabe Way while Mr Chizhande was clinging onto the steering,” said Ms Matanga.

The prosecutor said the two wrestled resulting in the vehicle crashing into another vehicle that was in a fuel queue.
“Gundane turned right into Robert Mugabe Way where he hit two more vehicles which were parked at the entrance to Crystal Bar and the vehicle came to a stop,” she said.

Mr Chizhande sustained injuries on his right knee and elbow and forehead and was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital.
Gundane was attacked by an angry mob that was nearby before they apprehended him and handed him to the police leading to his arrest. Gundane’s accomplies are on the run.

The stolen vehicle was recovered.

One of key State witnesses, Mr Clive Bandasi, narrated how Mr Chizhande wrestled with the Gundane as he drove the car.

“When the accused person and his accomplices came,  Mr Chizhande got out of the vehicle intending to serve them he left the car keys in the ignition port with the door and the window open,” he said.

Mr Bandasi said when Gundane started the car, the complainant jumped into the vehicle and they wrestled resulting in the vehicle crashing into another car that was in a fuel queue. —@mashnets