Robbers out on bail blamed for crime rise

Source: Robbers out on bail blamed for crime rise | Herald (Africa)

Crime Reporter

Police strongly believe some of the country’s suspected serial armed robbers who are out on bail pending trials or appeals, are behind a spate of recent criminal activities in the country.

There has been a marked increase in armed robberies in country in recent weeks with robbers getting away with huge sums of money.

Last week, armed robbers stole seven trunks of cash that had been collected from Choppies supermarket chain branches in Bulawayo and made off with $194 287; US$11 315; R35 595 and 25 pula, after firing several shots during the raid.

Early Sunday morning, six armed robbers blocked a Harare man with their two getaway cars movie style near the intersection of Aspindale and Glasgow roads and robbed him of US$17 800 cash.

Sources close to the investigations yesterday said some of the notorious armed robbery suspects who have skipped bail Spicer Takawira (28) and Musafare Mupamhanga, are among those behind recent heists.

“After their release, Takawira, Mupamhanga and other criminals have absconded and have not been reporting to the police as part of their jail conditions.

“We strongly suspect that they are behind masterminding these armed robbery cases,” said a police source.

He said they were now hunting for the suspects since most of them were issued with warrants of arrest.

Last week, one of the country’s suspected serial armed robbers and former Masvingo Central police officer, Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi (29), who exchanged gunfire with a police crack team in an attempt to evade arrest with his accomplices in Beitbridge last year, was granted $2 000 bail at the High Court.

Along with Musa Taj Abul and other gang members, the suspected robbers were arrested in dramatic fashion in Beitbridge last year, with dog teams playing a leading role.

Other alleged accomplices were Beitbridge-based police officer Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa (27), Liberty Mupamhanga (29), Prince Makodza (31), Godfrey Mupamhanga (27) and Charles Lundu (47) all of Harare.

The gang is linked to a number of armed robberies, including the famous Mashwede case in Harare.

Police swooped on the seven suspected robbers and their police officer host in the Mashavire area, now known as Tshitaudze suburb in Beitbridge.

Taj Abdul (47) recently had his bail application dismissed by the High Court.

The application came after his two other accomplices, Liberty Mupamhanga (29) and Kanhanga had also approached the High Court seeking bail.

Both had their applications dismissed and they remained in custody.

Their other two suspected accomplices Takawira and Musafare Mupamhanga, who were released on bail by the High Court, have since disappeared and were issued with warrants of arrest after failing to appear in court on April 28.

Takawira, Musafare Mupamhanga and Conwell Kasambarare are alleged to be part of the gang that raided Mashwede Holdings last year and got away with over US$100 000; R42 000 and $14 000 worth of fuel coupons, firearms and 20 live rounds of ammunition.