AN 18-year-old Mukoba boy is languishing in prison for stealing five commuter omnibuses and goods from cars.

Amos Chivende was recently arrested, convicted and sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment for five counts of theft of motor vehicles and two counts of theft from motor vehicle cases.

Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) spokesperson, Detective Inspector Portia Chinho said from 8 to 13 November 2021, Amos had been targeting vehicles and commuter omnibuses parked outside homes around Mkoba suburbs in Gweru.

“He would use duplicate keys to open car doors, start the engines and steal the vehicles,” said Det Insp Chinho.

“On 8 November 2021 at around 0025 hours, the accused person proceeded to one of the complainants’ house, used a duplicate key to open a parked Toyota Hiace and drove away.

“He later on dumped the vehicle after it developed a mechanical fault.

“Using the same modus operandi, the accused person also stole another Toyota Hiace on November 09, 2021.

“In one of the theft from car cases, the accused person stole property from complainant’s parked Honda Fit after using duplicate keys to unlock.

“On 13 November 2021 at around 0300 hours, accused person stole a Honda Odyssey and drove away.

“An alert resident spotted the stolen vehicle between Mkoba 21 and Woodlands, Gweru and alerted the police leading to the arrest of the accused person and the subsequent recovery of the stolen vehicle.

“Upon search, the accused person was found in possession of various duplicate keys.

“Further interviews led to the recovery of another stolen motor vehicle and various property,” said Det Insp Chinho.

Amos was among 159 children behind bars, at least by Friday at Young Offenders Prison with a holding capacity of 450 where he is serving his sentence and was counted among 18 dangerous criminals.

Amos opened up to H-Metro that he is not licensed to drive and regrets dodging school and disobeying his mother.

“It is better to die than growing old serving a sentence in prison,” said Amos.

“The sentence was too harsh considering my age and this is the end of my life.

“I regret my actions, I used to dodge school lessons and disobeying my mother.

“I left my mother in Chirumhanzu and started working at a car wash in Mukoba.

“Motorists would leave their vehicles for cleaning and I took opportunity to drive some of the vehicles.

“I am not licensed to drive but with the influence of friends I started engaging in illegal activities.

“Crime does not pay. I am failing to accept losing my freedom and am now behind bars, my tears are not drying daily for the four days I have been in this prison,” said Amos.