Man arrested for an authorised 1300 km car test drive
Alcohol flows freely when a new car is launched, but one Harare pedestrian thought it would be better to drive home sober than walk home after taking a few, so he stole the display and drove more than 1 300km over the next eight days before the police caught up with him.
Croco Motors, who hold a Ford franchise through their subsidiary Duly’s, the company that brought in the first Fords around a century ago, decided to push out the boat for the launch of the new Ford Ranger T6 a fortnight ago.
They hired Harare Sports Club and laid on a good party for the motoring enthusiasts they invited. The Ranger was on display.
But as the party got going, one person, believed to be a gatecrasher, sat in the cab, noticed the keys were in the ignition and fuel was in the tank. So he started the engine, drove out of the display, and out of the sports club and out of sight of the party, the firm and its staff. Apparently no one noticed just then. But later, the car was found gone.
Croco flighted adverts everywhere, offering US$5 000 for “information” leading to its recovery.
The US$57 000 vehicle had just 17km on the clock, making it brand new. But that was then. It has been recovered, with more than 1 300km on the clock, after a fortnight of hard use. The recovery also led to the arrest of Aaron Muzungu (38), now charged with car theft but denying the crime before Harare regional magistrate
Mr Hosea Mujaya. He has pleaded not guilty to theft charges. Mr Mujaya remanded him in custody to June 19. The State alleges that on May 4, Muzungu, who is also spokesman for the splinter MDC99, gate-crashed the party after lying that he was a potential buyer and at some stage was allowed to climb in.
The State says Muzungu discovered that the vehicle keys were in the ignition and took advantage of the laxity of the security set up at the launch and drove away unnoticed.
On May 12 this year detectives from CID Vehicle Theft Squad received information that Muzungu was claiming that he bought the car in question at the launch. So they went round, arrested Muzungu and recovered the vehicle.