SENIOR STAFF WRITER
This comes as the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) has in recent weeks attended to numerous incidents where motorists have been hijacked by would-be passengers.
“We have discovered that most robbery cases are being committed by men who pretend to be genuine travellers or passengers.
“They are picked up by motorists travelling to various destinations who they rob of their vehicles and valuables along the way.
“They are mainly boarding at pick-up points for long distances such as Bindura-Second Street, Chinhoyi-Westgate and Mutare/Marondera-Fourth Street,” CID spokesperson Portia Chinho said in a statement.
The criminals are not targeting motorists only as taxi drivers have also fallen prey to these gangsters.
“Other victims are those that operate pirate taxis. They are hired by the criminals and robbed of their vehicles and valuables along the way.
“Motorists should avoid picking up passengers or be wary of the travellers they pick up if they have to,” Chinho added.
VTS has also received reports of motorists losing their cars to opportunistic thieves who target idling vehicles.
“Some victims are also contributing a lot to cases of theft of their motor vehicles by leaving them unsecured.
“Opportunistic criminals are taking advantage and driving such vehicles (left idling) away. Motorists should desist from this practice and always take their car keys with them,” Chinho said.
Police have also warned of an increase in vehicle theft and robberies at notorious intersections at night.
“On November 20, around 2100 hours, a man driving a silver Honda Fit along Josiah Chinamano Avenue stopped at an intersection. Suddenly three men emerged from different directions, opened the doors and jumped into the motor vehicle.
“They dragged the complainant to the back seat and one of them drove away at high speed whilst others were searching the complainant. They dumped him around Nyabira area and he hiked back to town,” she said.
While the criminals have come up with new tactics, there are increasing reports of motorists losing their vehicles at homes at night.
“Criminals are using all sorts of methods to gain entry into private premises and we encourage the public to install tracking and anti-hijack devices on their motor vehicles,” Chinho added.
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police’s crack anti-vehicle theft unit is appealing to motorists to be on the lookout for robbers that are masquerading as hitch-hikers on the country’s highways.