SENIOR STAFF WRITER
STUNG by incessant robbery cases across the country, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has declared war against the perpetrators by launching a sting operation.
This comes as police yesterday arrested 11 suspected robbers in connection with an armed robbery case that occurred at Maruta Shopping Centre in Hatfield, Harare.
“Police and other security service officers were manning a roadblock along Seke/Delport Road when they received information to the effect that a complainant, 30, was being attacked at Maruta Shopping Centre.
“They reacted to the information and proceeded to the scene and arrested Tatenda Manongwa, 26, Jabulani Majoni, 32, Blessing Mabhureni, 27, John Machingauta, 26, Piyson Pamehenza (male adult), Lawrence Kwashira, 20, Tinashe Nyamaumba, 25, Professor Majaya, 28, Ashington Chamunorwa, 31, Tashinga Madzana (male adult) and Farai Mangwanani, 32 who were armed with two 303 rifles, iron bars, a sjambok and a catapult.
“The suspects were intercepted before taking anything from the complainant. Police investigations are underway to establish the origin of the firearms. Meanwhile, the victim was taken to Mbuya Dorcas Hospital for medical attention,” police national spokesperson Paul Nyathi said yesterday.
Yesterday’s incident comes as robbery cases have been on an unprecedented upward trajectory over the past few months putting police on high alert to quell criminal operations, which target and pounce on unsuspecting citizens.
In recent incidents, armed criminals have pounced on business premises demanding cash from workers while in some instances, they have raided homes where they believe the owners are keeping large sums of money.
Robbers are also driving around in unregistered vehicles pretending to be operating illegal taxis before robbing their passengers.
Nyathi said since January, they have impounded 3 081 cars believed to have been used as getaway vehicles in robbery incidents.
“We are arresting all unregistered cars, the Honda Fit, Toyota Wish and Raum models mostly because these are the cars being used to commit crimes.
“This is exactly the reason why we always urge people not to board unregistered vehicles but instead use the officials transport vehicles. It’s difficult to trace unregistered vehicles. Since January we have impounded 3 081 vehicles which are being used to commit crimes.
“These vehicles target mostly stranded individuals. We are really concerned as police with the number of robbery cases being reported across the country on daily basis.
“So, we are not going to allow unregistered vehicles to operate because these are the cars being used by the culprits,” Nyathi said.
With the local economy slowing down due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown, crime appears to be on an upward trajectory, with Zimbabwe’s once conservative society becoming a haven for robbers.
Last week, police shot and killed four robbers while their two accomplices survived the stand-off after they had robbed a Harare business of US$10 000.
Last month, a gang of over a dozen robbers conspired with a security guard and hijacked a cash-in-transit van transporting US$2,7 million to various bank branches across the country.
There was also another case recently after a robber pounced on a service station in Norton and got away with US$3 050 in cash and is still at large.
In Mutoko earlier this week, a gang of six armed men pounced on three unsuspecting victims where they stole cash and other valuables at gunpoint.
In fact, police are recording robbery cases almost on a daily basis.