Heists and their consequences :Engineering student handed 35-years in jail
In a shocking turn of events, a 21-year-old Bulawayo Polytechnic engineering student, Lenny Ryan Mupande, has been handed a hefty 35-year prison sentence for a series of armed robberies. The young student found himself on the wrong side of the law, lured by the promise of a flashy lifestyle influenced by celebrities and influencers on social media.
Mupande’s criminal escapade led to an additional 30 years in prison as he admitted to five more counts of armed robbery. He had been initially sentenced to 15 years in prison for other armed robberies.
Ten years of the sentence were suspended on the condition that he avoids similar offenses. In total, he is now set to serve an effective 35 years behind bars.
The source reports that the robberies included stealing ZAR13,390 from Mukuru, two iPhone 7s and $998.66 from Chicken Inn drive-through, a cellphone, handcuffs, and a baton stick from Athens supermarket in Cowdray Park, and $1,850 from a registered money agency, Tottengram Investments.
Mupande’s actions were influenced by the flashy lifestyles he observed on social media. During their appearance in court, both Mupande and his accomplice, Bezel Chirova, confessed that they were driven by societal pressures and the allure of imitating the lives of well-off peers and social media influencers.
“I committed the crimes because of peer pressure. I was envious of the lives of my peers and the lives of social media influencers. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to mimic their lives, the food they ate, their dressing, and the drinks they enjoyed,” explained Mupande.
Chirova, in his defence, stated that he was pressured by Mupande into engaging in criminal activities.
“It was not my intention to commit these crimes. It was Mupande who pressured me into committing these crimes. He was persistent in getting me to be part of his plan,” he said.
Despite their crimes, the court was considerate of the age and peer pressure experienced by the two students. Regional magistrate Mr. Elijah Singano acknowledged their youthfulness, inexperience, and peer pressure.
“The law is considerate of their age, maturity, and inexperience and peer pressure. They are youthful offenders and are students at Bulawayo Polytechnic. However, this does not mean they should not be punished.”
Mr. Singano emphasized that the students’ swift confession led to a more lenient sentencing, but he noted that their daring, movie-style robberies deserved custodial sentences. The court recognized that their actions not only harmed the victims financially but also undermined customer confidence.
In a final note, it is clear that societal pressures and the allure of a flashy lifestyle, as portrayed by social media, can lead young individuals down a dangerous path. Lenny Ryan Mupande’s story serves as a stark reminder of the importance of making wise choices and resisting temptations in an era dominated by the influence of social media