Crime Reporter
Two suspected car thieves who were part of a syndicate that targeted taxi drivers and motorists to steal their vehicles after offering to buy them food or drinks along the way were on Thursday arrested in Harare. Criminal Investigation Department spokesperson Detective Assistant Inspector Portia Chinho applauded the public for providing them with information which led to the arrest of the two suspects.

“One of the cases occurred at Hellensvale Shops in Borrowdale, (Harare) on 13 June 2018 at around 7pm, she said. The complainant, who is a pirate taxi driver, was hired by three suspects from Domboshava Showground to Hellensvale, Borrowdale.

“When they arrived in Hellensvale area, the suspects directed the complainant to a certain house which is still under construction and they met with two other suspects. One of the suspects got back to the complainant and told him to drive to Hellensvale Shops where he would obtain money to pay for the taxi.”

Det Asst Insp Chinho said at the shops, the suspect bought a sausage worth $6 which he put on a braai stand and went back to the car.

It is alleged that the suspect informed the complainant that he had decided to braai.
“After a few minutes, the suspect asked complainant to check if the sausage was ready and complainant got off the vehicle, leaving the car keys on the ignition port,” she said.

When complainant got back after about five minutes, he found his vehicle missing and the suspect gone.
The suspects removed the vehicle registration plates and drove to Murehwa.

They were however, intercepted at a police roadblock and arrested for driving a motor vehicle without registration plates.
A search was conducted in the impounded vehicle and documents of a Toyota Sienta which was also stolen on June 8 were recovered.

“The complainant was also hired by the suspects from Aquatic Complex, Chitungwiza to Chigovanyika Shops, Chitungwiza,” said Det Asst Insp Chinho.

He was given money to buy beer and left the keys on the ignition port and the suspects drove off.
“The stolen vehicles were recovered and the suspects were sent to court where they were remanded in custody to 29 June 2018 for trial.”

Det Asst Insp Chinho said they had noted that most of the cases were being committed at night and in some incidences criminals hire victims and offer to buy them food or drinks along the way.

Police have since warned motorists not to leave keys on the ignition port and to avoid carrying passengers.
Vehicle owners were encouraged to install anti-hijack alarm systems and tracking devices on their vehicles as a deterrent measure.

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