91 bales of tobacco recovered
Victor Maphosa-Mash East Bureau
Police in Marondera reacted swiftly when a robbery of 91 tobacco bales worth US$42 000 from a near-by farm was reported and managed to intercept the getaway truck in Marondera, arresting the driver and recovering the stolen tobacco and other stolen goods.
The robbery occurred at around 11pm on Monday night last week when the eight-man gang armed with machetes and sticks descended on the farm and overpowered the security guard, threatening to kill him if he resisted.
They then force-marched the guard to the farm manager’s house to collect keys to the grading shed, said Mashonaland East police spokesperson Inspector Simon Chazovachiyi.
“The gang then tied his hands and ordered him to escort them to the farm manager’s residence to collect some keys for the grading shed,” said Insp Chazovachiyi.
The guard complied. The gang stormed into the house and found the manager’s wife and family seated in the dining room watching television. They assaulted the wife with sticks. The manager, who was asleep in his bedroom, woke up and intervened, but was in turn assaulted.
“The manager was then locked in the guardroom with his family under the watch of one of the gang members. A sum of US$180 and two cellphones were stolen from them.”
The gang then went to the grading shed and stole 91 bales, two 12-volt batteries and five bottles of fungicides and loaded the loot into their getaway truck before vanishing into the darkness.
But the manager managed to free himself and informed the farm owner Richard Seager (61) who quickly made a report at ZRP Marondera Rural.
“Police reacted swiftly and intercepted the truck in Rusike suburb, Marondera. The driver Shelton Matengarufu (31) of Stoneridge Park, Harare, was arrested and is now assisting the police with investigations.”
Inspector Chazovachiyi appealed for information that may lead to the arrest of the rest of the gang.
“We are appealing to the public for information that may lead to the arrest of the accused persons who are on the run, so that they can be brought to book. Anyone with information to report to any nearest police station.”
He also urged farmers to quickly report to the police if they fall prey to criminals and to conduct regular vetting of farm workers.
“Farmers are also urged to quickly report any robbery case to the police and to make sure that their security guards are vigilant and up to their task of securing farm produce. Report any suspicions to the police and have regular vetting of farm workers,” said Inspector Chazovachiyi.