Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A gang of bogus cops that terrorised businesses in Harare getting away with cash and valuables worth over $50 000 has appeared in court charged with robbery and illegal possession of explosives.
Armed with pistols, machetes and knives, Mugove Chimuti (28), Ishmael Mutungira (23), Musarurwa Gutsa (41) and Tinashe Munhanga (36) would allegedly engage in criminal activities across the city.
They would use the explosives to blow safes and loot money. They were arrested in Zvishavane on June 20. The suspects appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing 10 counts of robbery.
They are facing an additional charge of unlawful possession of explosives. They were represented by Ms Rekai Maposa. The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa is alleging that on May 3 at around 1 am, they went to Travellers Tavern bar in Dzivarasekwa 1, Harare.
Some of them were wearing police uniforms. They identified themselves to a security guard as cops. The suspects lied that they had arrested some criminals who stole valuables at the bar and wanted to interview security guards manning the premises. They pepper sprayed the guards before handcuffing them.
The court heard how the gang took the guards’ mobile phones and proceeded to a warehouse where they attempted to break the safe using explosives. They later stole boxes of cigarettes worth $3 254. Using the same weapons and clad in police uniforms the gang went to Fashion Fair shops in Hatfield on May 10 early in the morning.
They saw two security guards and introduced themselves as police officers on duty. The suspects lied to the guards that they were wanted at the police station for theft. They force marched the guards into a garage where they gagged them and tied they hands and legs. They pepper sprayed their victims. One of the guards tried to resist and was struck with a machete on the leg.
The criminals blew a safe and took $1 300. They also stole mobile phones. Two days later they went to house number 6670 Granary armed with machetes and iron bars. They broke into Willard Hakurotwi’s tuckshop and stole groceries. This was after tying Hakurotwi’s hand and legs.
On March 27, they pounced on Kanyasha bottle store and butchery in Kuwadzana. They forced entry into the premises where they attacked a security guard. They stole a safe containing $1 000. The court heard that the following day the gang masqueraded as cops and confronted four guards at Magunje shopping centre.
They accused the guards of accommodating criminals. The suspects then ransacked the Magunje supermarket and stole $34 000. They used part of the loot to buy vehicles.