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Unreported robberies point police to shady dealings

by Staff reporter
27 Sep 2021 at 05:14hrs | Views
POLICE have raised a red flag following a spate of robberies across the country with suspects mostly targeting businesspeople keeping large sums of money in their houses.

The country has in the past few months recorded an increase in armed robbery cases with suspects getting away with substantial amounts. The armed robbers are targeting cash-in-transit vehicles, money transfer agents and banks.

However, some of the cases go unreported raising strong suspicions that the victims could be involved in illicit businesses or shady deals.

Last week, a Bulawayo motorist lost R181 500, US$5 000 and $4 700 after thieves got into his unattended car, which was parked in the city centre and stole the money.

The incident came hot on the heels of another robbery involving a couple allegedly robbed of more than US$30 000 by four men armed with a gun and machetes along the Bulawayo-Harare highway.

The couple was travelling to Harare after being sent by a Harare based company to collect the money from a sister company in Belmont, Bulawayo.

In an interview, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they have since established that some of the purported robberies were staged.

He said some of the armed robberies, which occurred in Bulawayo were an inside job involving employees of security companies.

"What is clear with some of these robbery cases is that information would have been leaked by employees of the security companies. Security companies are compromised, which therefore entails both individuals and companies to relook into the way they handle issues to do with money," he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said some businesspeople keeping large sums of foreign currency in their homes were now being targeted by robbers.

He, however, said investigating those cases is a challenge as most of the victims were reluctant to make police reports, raising a strong suspicion of illicit dealings.

"We also have a situation whereby individuals especially businesspeople are now keeping large sums of money in their houses and again information is leaking where you will find that criminals follow these people to their homes and attack them," said Asst Comm Nyathi.

"We want to urge businesspeople to step up their security. We have a situation where someone gets his or her money stolen and does not want to report hence in this regard, you can't rule out the possibility of illicit activities, which the victims feel would expose them if the matter is reported to us."

Asst Comm Nyathi said if a genuine crime has been committed, it has to be reported to the police. "As police, we continue to conduct investigations and there is no way a person should block police from investigating a crime. We have said it before and continue to say it that people should bank money with financial institutions particularly now that Government has allowed the use of multi-currency system," he said.

"We want to appeal to businesspeople to prioritise their safety and safeguard their investments. At the same time, they must ensure that their workers are vetted and their security company step up security measures in terms of cash in transit."

Asst Comm Nyathi said their investigations have proved that some of the robberies in Bulawayo were staged.
He singled out the robbery case, which occurred along the Bulawayo-Harare highway when a couple was robbed of more than US$30 000 by four men armed with a gun and machetes, including the one where six armed robbers raided Access Finance Bureau de Change in Bulawayo.

"We have established that with the Access Finance Bureau de Change robbery and the recent one where a woman came all the way from Harare to take US$32 078 cash from their Bulawayo branch in Belmont were staged. The woman came with her boyfriend while the other woman who is also part of the racket also had a boyfriend," said Asst Comm Nyathi.

Source - chroncile