A court in Mzuzu has sentenced four criminals to 14 years in jail each for stealing items worth K6 million.
The four are Christopher Adam aged 31, Macdonald Kalonga, 24, Luya Matebule, 24, and Charles Mwale aged 28.
The criminals, in December last year, broke into the Centre for Youth and Development (CYD) building in Mzuzu and went away with laptops, digital cameras and a bicycle, all valued at six million kwacha.
The court heard through state prosecutor Lloyd Magweje that the robbers were armed with panga knives and iron rods and during the robbery they assaulted and tied with ropes watchmen at the centre.
The criminals who are not residents of Mzuzu kept their loot at a house of a friend at Chiputula within Mzuzu.
Police arrested the thugs a week later and it transpired that they are also connected to robbery cases in Zomba, Balaka and Salima districts.
In court, the state paraded eight witnesses including the owner of the house where the stolen laptops were stored at Chiputula.
After the four were convicted, Magweje stressed the need for the four convicts to be given a stiff penalty saying they are enemies of development since they robbed a youth centre that survives on donations.
In their mitigation statements, the four asked for leniency saying they are still youthful and can still contribute to development of the country.
In his judgment, Mzuzu First grade Magistrate Alexander Gomba said the computers that were stolen were donations meant for the youth to develop into responsible citizens and that the robbers’ action has the capacity of scaring away donors.
He then sentenced the robbers to 14 years in jail each.
The four were sent to Mzuzu Prison but are likely to be transferred to Zomba Maximum Prison as they wait to answer robbery charges for crimes committed in Zomba, Balaka and Salima.