Toy guns used as rob­beries spike

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Whins­ley Masara

FIVE men, two armed with toy guns, pounced on a Ma­jor Petroleum Ser­vice Sta­tion in Bu­l­awayo and bashed work­ers with ham­mers and a knobker­rie be­fore flee­ing with $700 and four cell phones.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened on Thurs­day at about 9PM.

Na­tional po­lice spokesper­son Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Char­ity Charamba con­firmed the in­ci­dent.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions have re­vealed that the rob­bers, who are still at large, used toy guns,” she said.

Sources at the ser­vice sta­tion said the rob­bers ar­rived at around 9PM and rounded up two fuel at­ten­dants and two cus­tomers at gun point.

Two of the rob­bers al­legedly held the guns, while oth­ers were armed with a ham­mer, knobker­ries and an axe.

“Three men were on duty at the ser­vice sta­tion while two oth­ers had come to ser­vice the pumps,” said a one of the vic­tims who de­clined to be named.

“Ziphozenkosi Gumbo of Pu­mula South sub­urb was se­ri­ously in­jured. They hit him on the fore­head, back and on the knees with a ham­mer and a knobker­rie. They took his cell phone, a Nokia Asha, and an undis­closed amount of cash that he had.

“We sus­pect he sus­tained se­ri­ous in­ter­nal in­juries be­cause they ham­mered him and hit him hard with a knobker­rie,” said the source.

A fuel at­ten­dant said he was as­saulted with a ham­mer and the rob­bers kicked him in the face and back be­fore tak­ing away his Nokia cell phone.

“The rob­bers sur­rounded us and pro­duced weapons. They or­dered us to lie on the ground. They beat us up and took away our cell­phones and cash.

“My back is painful but I’m bet­ter than Gumbo who sus­tained se­ri­ous in­juries. We rushed him to Mpilo (Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal) where he is be­ing treated. Doc­tors are still as­sess­ing the ex­tent of his in­juries,” he said.

The at­ten­dant said one of the clients was as­saulted with a pis­tol butt at the back of his head and on the waist. He also lost his cell­phone, a Huawei cell phone, and $4. His part­ner was not beaten up but they also took away his cell phone, a Huawei.

The fuel at­ten­dants said the men left them ly­ing on the ground and fled from the scene.

The work­ers in­formed their em­ployer Mr Shayawabaya Masara (41) of the mat­ter.

“I quickly sur­ren­dered all the cash and told him of what was happening out­side and he im­me­di­ately in­formed the po­lice” said an at­ten­dant. Mr Masara de­clined to com­ment. ‘‘I don’t want the story made pub­lic,” he said. On Wed­nes­day, an armed pair pounced at an En­gen Ser­vice Sta­tion in Mag­wegwe and got away with $26 cash and a Galaxy S1 cell phone.

The rob­bery came barely a day after an­other team of four gun-tot­ing rob­bers got away with over $20 000 at the Sa­vanna To­bacco of­fices in Wind­sor Park.

They gagged and tied up a cashier iden­ti­fied as Miss Azel­lia Mad­zor­era after forc­ing her to give them keys to a safe.

The rob­bers took $20 675 and fled in a Honda Fit ve­hi­cle.

In July, rob­bers pounced at Barons Mo­tor Spares in Bu­l­awayo and got away with about $36 000. The closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion (CCTV) and the alarms at the shop were dis­abled dur­ing the elab­o­rate rob­bery at one of the city’s big­gest ve­hi­cle spares out­lets.

Last year, a group of masked bur­glars blew up safes at Bu­l­awayo’s Belle­vue Chop­pies su­per­mar­ket (for­merly Belle­vue Spar) and got away with more than $16 000. The rob­bers al­legedly used shears to cut through the roof of the out­let dur­ing the night.

Po­lice ar­rested the rob­bers barely a week after they com­mit­ted the crime. A few weeks be­fore that, rob­bers hit Bu­l­awayo’s Rich­mond Spar and got away with more than $10 000. Two months ear­lier, rob­bers had pounced on six Bu­l­awayo schools, get­ting away with more than $4 000. — @win­nie_­masara

Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Char­ity Charamba

Armed rob­bers pounced on Ma­jor Petroleum Ser­vice Sta­tion in Bu­l­awayo and got away with $700

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