POLICE in Bulawayo yesterday met officials from security companies and businesspeople to come up with a policy to help curb the rising cases of cash-in-transit robberies that have hit the country.
Bulawayo has in recent months recorded a rise in armed robbery cases with robbers getting away with huge sums of money.
In the past two weeks, two armed robberies took place at Ascot Shopping Mall and Choppies Supermarket in Parklands. In the Choppies robbery armed robbers fired several shots before getting away with an undisclosed amount of cash.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said while he did not have the exact figures that had been lost to armed robbers in the city, they were worried on the sudden rise of these cases.
He revealed that the Officer Commanding Bulawayo Province, Commissioner Patton Mbangwa will this week be availing a plan that will see them being able to curb the number of armed robberies in the city.
Recently, security guards and staff at Bulawayo’s Choppies Parklands Supermarket were questioned by police over the armed robbery that happened last Thursday when robbers stole seven trunks full of takings from all the retail chain’s branches in Bulawayo for that day.
Police suspect that the robbery was an inside job and crack Criminal Investigations Department teams from both Harare and Bulawayo have since been activated to investigate and track the suspects who are still at large.
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.
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.