By Matabeleland North Correspondent
A HUNGRY security guard has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after he connived with a resident to steal a gas cylinder and a four-plate stove which were used for cooking for patients at Victoria Falls Hospital.
Hospital staff noticed the theft when they reported for duty to find they could not prepare breakfast for patients.
Alexio Ncube (37) of Chinotimba suburb in the resort town committed the crime in connivance with Admire Maduma (33) of Mkhosana.
The duo was charged with unlawful entry and theft when it was brought before Victoria Falls magistrate Linda Dzvene.
During trial, the two told the court they committed the offence in an attempt to raise monies for their families’ upkeep while claiming they were suffering under the current economic crisis.
On the count of unlawful entry, Ncube and Maduma were each sentenced to 12 months with three months suspended for five years on the condition they did not commit a similar offence.
On the count of theft, Ncube was slapped with 12 months in jail and six months were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour, meaning he will serve an effective 15 months for the two offences.
Maduma was sentenced to 12 months with nothing being suspended.
The magistrate brought into effect three months that were suspended last year for a case of theft Maduma had committed, leaving him with a total of 24 months in jail.
The prosecutor Onias Nyathi said Ncube and Maduma broke into the hospital where they obtained some keys from the reception and stole a gas cylinder and a four-plate gas stove.
The hospital was represented by its administrator Kudzai Chimhanda during trial.
“At night, on 27 June, Alexio Ncube and Admire Maduma went to the hospital and took keys from the reception.
“They proceeded to the hospital kitchen where they opened using the keys. They took a four-plate superior gas stove and a 19kg gas cylinder and went away unnoticed,” said the prosecutor.
Hospital staff noticed the theft in the morning when they wanted to cook breakfast for patients and Chimhanda reported the matter to the police.
Investigations by the police led to the arrest of Maduma who implicated Ncube.
Maduma had sold the cylinder to Takura Nyengera, from whom it was recovered.
The gas stove was later found dumped at the hospital back gate. Both were valued at $39 000 and were recovered.