Robbers blast filling station
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