HARARE – Authorities are warning Zimbabweans about a series of armed robberies in Beitbridge and Zvishavane.
According to a community alert, police have responded to several robberies in the two areas.
The surge in robberies comes as the economy is collapsing as evidenced by the critical shortages of cash and shooting up of prices of goods while importers turn to the black market to source forex to pay for their wares.
The robbers target hitchhikers whom they pick up and rob them before they reach their destination. Robbers, armed with guns threaten to shoot the passengers before seizing their personal property, authorities said.
The offenders have been using a Honda Fit and all are believed to be about 20 to 30 years old, police said.
Two to four men are thought to be involved.
There have been at least eight attacks in the two towns this month alone, with the most gruesome being of a man who was struck with a machete on the head before the robbers fled with $290.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba warned the criminals that the long arm of the law will catch up with them
“Cases of armed robbery have been on the increase in Beitbridge and Zvishavane and Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to alert hikers and those who offer lifts to strangers to do so with extra caution. Of interest is a Honda Fit which fits the description of two crime scenarios,” Charamba told the Daily News.
“On 10 October 2017 at around 2130 hours, two male adults aged 47 and 33 boarded a silver Honda Fit with unknown registration numbers intending to go to Bulawayo from Zvishavane. The vehicle had four male occupants including the driver. After driving for about 15 kilometres, the driver turned into a bushy area where one of the occupants produced a pistol and robbed the complainants of their cash, a laptop, cellphones and clothes, all valued at $530,50.”
Charamba said in a related case which occurred on October 12, 2017, just past midnight, two male adults aged 50 and 37 years boarded the unregistered silver Honda Fit that again had four male occupants.
The duo intended to travel from Gweru to Mashava, Charamba said.
“Along the way, the driver said he wanted to avoid a tollgate since his vehicle was not registered. After travelling for about 300 metres from the main road, the driver stopped and one of the occupants produced a pistol and they robbed the complainants of cash and valuables all valued at $820.”
Authorities warned passengers to avoid carrying valuables in plain sight in the vehicle, and if they are confronted by an armed robber, they are asked to remain calm, officials said.
The police also recorded another case of armed robbery on October 14 when a 73-year-old man was robbed by two male adults who approached him whilst he was panning for gold in Gwanda.
The man was struck with a machete once on the head and cash amounting to $290 was stolen.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to strongly warn these criminals that the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
“Meanwhile, members of the public are urged to avoid boarding unregistered vehicles or hiking at secluded places but to make use of designated bus termini.
“Police investigations are in progress and anyone with information which may lead to the arrest of the accused persons to contact the nearest police station or phone National Complaints Desk on (04) 703631.”