courtTwo Francistown women have been dragged before court to answer for 31 charges of theft after they were caught shopping with a stolen ATM card.

The duo,Alice Tshukudu(45) and Doreen Tekeletso (37) are alleged to have gone on a shopping spree fleecing a standard chartered account of P24 000 using a stolen ATM card in three weeks eight years ago.

According to the charge sheet the two women used the ATM card in supermarkets, wholesalers, filling stations,hotels and take away joints in Francistown, Selibe Phikwe and Palapye.

Appearing before magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba,  the owner of the ATM card Oagile Masala testified that he realised that his  bank card was missing on the 1 of June 2004 when he  wanted to withdraw cash for his sister.

“On the third of the same month I reported my ATM card missing at the bank and asked for it to be blocked. I filled in the necessary forms at the bank’s branch here in Francistown and I was told to come back a few days later, since the forms were processed in Gaborone.

On the 25th of the same month I went  back to the bank, since it was pay day to withdraw some money. When I got to the teller she seemed surprised that I wanted to withdraw money inside the bank and not from the ATM outside.

I told her I did not have an ATM card and that was when he told me that my card had been used to purchase goods in the past weeks.

Upon further enquiries she told me the card was frequently swiped at Nando’s,”  narrated the Botswana Telecommunication Corporation employee. He said  that at the time his card went missing, his account had close to P36 000.

Armed with this vital information Masala’s next stop was the fast food outlet where he requested  management of  Nando’s Francistown to alert  the police next time the culprit  attempted to use his missing card.

Next in the witness dock was Fungai Mwale, a former manager of Nando’s Francistown who testified that after Masala informed him of his concern he  duly instructed all his cashiers to be on the lookout for the ATM card.

“A few days later one of the cashiers called me to her till, and when I got there she was holding the ATM bearing Masala’s names, but the person who had given her the card had disappeared.

“Later that same day in the evening around 6 pm I received a telephone call from a woman claiming that she had bought food from our shop but had forgotten to pick the food and her card.

She asked me to give the items to the person she was going to send,” said Mwale, who is now based in Mafikeng.

The court heard of how the spending spree abruptly came to an end when one of the culprits was nabbed at the fast food outlet pretending to have been sent to collect the forgotten lunch and the prized money card.

Mwale disclosed that the cashiers identified the woman as a regular client.

Trial continues in June while the accused are on bail.

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