Rob­bers blast fill­ing sta­tion

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Abel Zhakata Se­nior Reporter

A SEEM­INGLY eva­sive gang of 10 no­to­ri­ous armed rob­bers, that pounced on sev­eral busi­nesses in Mutare and stole thou­sands of dol­lars af­ter blow­ing up safes, resur­faced on Tues­day morn­ing and hit a Sakunda Ser­vice Sta­tion in the city us­ing the same mo­dus operandi.

A se­cu­rity guard and two at­ten­dants at the garage were as­saulted and later had their hands tied by the cheeky crim­i­nals who went on to blow up a safe us­ing dy­na­mites.

They got away with cash amount­ing to $4 400, fuel coupons val­ued at more than $100 and an as­sort­ment of elec­tri­cal gad­gets that in­cluded lap­tops.

To cover their tracks, the crim­i­nals de­stroyed a CCTV sys­tem and took the main server. The in­ci­dent hap­pened at around 3am at the fill­ing sta­tion sit­u­ated at Cor­ner C Av­enue and Fourth Street.

A rob­bery docket has since been opened at Mutare Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion un­der RRB 3461741. Man­i­ca­land po­lice spokesman In­spec­tor Tavhir­ingwa Kako­hwa con­firmed the rob­bery.

Cir­cum­stances were that the three com­plainants, Mary Marume (33) who is a fuel at­ten­dant, Hap­py­more Chi­vorese (27) a se­cu­rity guard and Clar­i­ata Gedhe who is em­ployed as a shop at­ten­dant were ap­proached by two of the crim­i­nals who were armed with pis­tols.

The rob­bers searched the se­cu­rity guard to es­tab­lish whether he had a firearm. They also took cell phones be­long­ing to the three com­plainants and an eco agent cell phone for the ser­vice sta­tion reg­is­tered in the name of Hlu­pekire Kandiero.

The two sus­pects then called their ac­com­plices who were num­ber­ing up to six to join them. They were armed with picks and iron bars. One of the rob­bers forced marched Marume and Chi­vorese to the main of­fice leav­ing Gedhe in the su­per­mar­ket.

While in the main of­fice they tied the two com­plainants us­ing com­puter ca­bles that had been dis­con­nected from a com­puter. The other rob­ber who re­mained in the shop with Gedhe de­manded cash and she gave him $160.

Af­ter hand­ing over the money she was also force-marched to join her work­mates in the main of­fice where she also had her hands tied.

The rob­bers then used picks to break five doors which led to dif­fer­ent of­fices. In one of the of­fices the crim­i­nals de­stroyed a CCTV hard drive and went away with it.

They pro­ceeded to the man­ager’s of­fice and blew up a Geni money safe us­ing dy­na­mites. They took US$4 415 which was in the safe. The rob­bers also took two Len­ovo lap­tops, fuel coupons val­ued at US$145, a CCTV hard drive server, a Nokia cell phone and a few gro­cery items from the shop and dis­ap­peared.

Mo­ments later Gedhe man­aged to un­tie her­self and she went on to un­tie her col­leagues. A re­port was then made at Mutare Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion.

De­tec­tives quickly at­tended the scene and re­cov­ered a piece of the dy­na­mite that was used to break open the safe.

They also found three cell phones be­long­ing to the three work­ers that were later dumped by the rob­bers as they fled.

When The Man­ica Post vis­ited the scene of the crime, one of the vic­tims was at pains to ex­plain to de­tec­tives the hor­ror she ex­pe­ri­enced at the hands of the rob­bers.

She said as soon as the rob­bers got into the shop one of them snatched her jacket and also took a cap from the se­cu­rity guard and went out­side at the fore­court.

“While out­side, the rob­ber who was now clad in our uni­form, told off clients who wanted to buy fuel say­ing we had run empty. He did this to cover up the rob­bery, which was in progress in­side the shop.

“They as­saulted us and even made us to sing some songs. As they were about to go af­ter col­lect­ing their loot, they or­dered us to sing Jah Prayzah’s song “Ku­tonga Kwaro,” she said.

From analysing the way they are ex­e­cut­ing the rob­beries, de­tec­tives re­vealed that the same gang is re­spon­si­ble for the rob­beries that hap­pened at a bus com­pany in the city, a shop heist in Odzi and an­other ser­vice sta­tion rob­bery in Dangamvura.

This uniden­ti­fied fuel at­ten­dant is one of the vic­tims of the armed rob­bery. (In­set) The blown up safe at Sakunda Fill­ing Sta­tion

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