Security guards and staff at Bulawayo’s Choppies Parklands Supermarket have been questioned by police over the armed robbery that happened last Thursday when robbers stole seven trunks full of cash, the takings from all the retail chain’s branches in Bulawayo that day.
Police suspect that the robbery was an inside job and Criminal Investigations Department crack teams from both Harare and Bulawayo have since been activated to investigate and track the suspects who are still at large.
Police have said they were still trying to verify the amount of money stolen during the robbery.
The gang of armed robbers is believed to have trailed the Romicon Security cash-in-transit vehicle as it collected cash from six Choppies Supermarket shops around the city, and pounced on it as it made its seventh collection at the Parklands branch.
They fired warning shots and threatened to shoot anyone who resisted.
The Romicon Security guards were disarmed before the gang grabbed the six trunks from the cash-in-transit vehicle and loaded in a kombi labelled “armoured cash-in-transit vehicle”.
The seventh trunk was grabbed from a security guard who was carrying it from the Parklands branch to the cash-in-transit truck.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi has urged security companies to step up security to avoid robbery cases and recommended that movements should be minimised when security firms have collected large amounts of cash.
Robberies have become more common. Last week, a 22-year-old woman was shot dead during a robbery at Liquor Supplies at Ascot Shopping Centre in Bulawayo after receiving two bullets in the head.
Thandolwenkosi Dube (22) from Cowdray Park suburb was a cashier at the liquor outlet which the gang stormed and demanded cash.
On the same day, a man lost US$16 500 and a Toyota Belta vehicle to two suspected armed robbers who lured him to Mbembesi Business Centre through a phone call for a transaction.
The man was stabbed once in the back before the robbers drove off in his vehicle. Last month, police in Bulawayo arrested Abednico Ndlovu (29), Atkins Mahinzwi (36), Bruce Moyo (30), Zenzo Siziba (42), Kelvin Dzumbunu (29), and Gift Mwale (38), in connection with a spate of armed robbery cases committed between January and April 2021 in Bulawayo and surrounding areas.
A 9mm pistol with a magazine of six rounds was recovered from the suspects.
The arrested suspects mainly targeted service stations and homesteads before robbing the victims of their valuables.
So far, the gang is linked to 14 cases of robbery in which properties worth US$164 032, R890 and $50 000 were stolen.