A Harare man lost various electrical gadgets to armed robbers while a 16-year-old girl was robbed and raped by an unknown man in Masvingo, both of them after being enticed by criminals using social media.
No arrests have been made so far and a hunt for suspects has been launched.
In the Harare case, it is alleged that three armed robbers saw an advertisement on social media indicating that the victim was selling some electrical gadgets.
They responded pretending to be prospective buyers on Tuesday, and lured the victim from Msasa to Mabvuku and robbed him of a 68-inch flat screen television set, an OpenView decoder, US$8 cash and an Itel cell phone.
The suspects were travelling on an unregistered black Toyota Wish.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed both incidents.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police reiterates that members of the public should be wary of online advertisements and potentially unscrupulous customers who end up robbing them of their valuables.
“This follows a robbery case in Mabvuku, Harare, on January 12, 2021 at about 7am where a man was robbed of a 68-inch flat screen TV, an OpenView decoder, US$8 and an Itel cell phone by three unknown men who were moving in a black unregistered Toyota Wish. The victim had been requested to supply the electrical gadgets while in Msasa and was lured to Mabvuku,” he said.
He said investigations were in progress.
Asst Comm Nyathi also warned the public to be wary of other online job advertisements being posted by some unscrupulous criminals following a case which occurred in Masvingo on January 9, 2021, in which a girl aged 16 from Gutu was lured by an unknown male adult, through a WhatsApp message advertisement dubbed “kuwana basa nyore nyore”, in which the accused person alleged he was offering employment to young girls.
“The accused further stated that those willing to be employed must have a laptop for use. The girl went to Masvingo where she was later robbed of a laptop plus cash and raped in a building under construction,” he said.
This is not the first time that criminals have lured their victims through social media.In September last year, a Harare teenager was raped by a man who enticed her through social media to come for a modelling audition.
The suspect, aged 25, was then arrested.
It is alleged that the 19-year-old came into contact with her assailant on Facebook, where she was duped into believing that he wanted models who would appear on his branded designer hats.
The teenager agreed to meet him at his “offices” in Waterfalls, but once there, was told the only way she would get the job was after they became intimate. She was then allegedly raped.
In December 2019, flirting on social media turned horrible for a 29-year-old Harare woman who was raped by her “online boyfriend”, on their first meeting.
The two knew each other through social media and they chatted until they agreed to meet in Harare.
Police are worried about the increase in criminal use of social network sites and have warned citizens to be aware of such criminals.