The Zimbabwe Republic Police has expressed concern over an increase in carjacking and urges the public to be wary of criminals targeting vehicles countrywide.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said it is investigating a number of cases where motorists have lost their vehicles to criminals in separate incidents.
They said motorists should exercise due diligence and ensure that their vehicles were well secured.
The motorists should also avoid leaving keys in the ignition port and leaving strangers in their cars.
In a statement, CID spokesperson Detective Inspector Portia Chinho advised motorists to install alarm systems, tracking devices and anti-hijack systems on their vehicles. She said in one of the cases which occurred in Gweru, a complainant was driving a Toyota Wish plying the Gweru-Bulawayo route when he was approached by four robbers who hired him to Southdowns, Gweru.
“On their way, one of the criminals drew an Okapi knife, ordered the complainant to stop and obey their orders,” she said. “The quartet then robbed the complainant of $1 300 cash and two cellphones. The criminals proceeded to tie the complainant, dumped him and drove off.”
In Harare, another complainant lost his car, a Toyota Pearl, after parking it along Patrenda Road in Budiriro 2.
He had left the vehicle idling and entered into a friend’s house.
Another vehicle, a Honda Fit, was stolen after the owner parked it at his house in Eastlea, Harare.
Detective Insp Chinho said a taxi driver lost his Honda Fit to a lone robber who had hired him in Marondera. The driver had left the vehicle idling while relieving himself.
She said another Honda Fit was stolen during the night at a house in Highlands, Harare.
In Bulawayo, a man lost his Toyota Hiace after parking it at a service a station and left the vehicle unlocked before he went into a bar.
He returned after some minutes and discovered the vehicle stolen.
In the same city, another man lost a Mitsubishi L200 at his house. The vehicle was stolen during the night. Police are still investigating the cases.
“Police would like to urge motorists to exercise due diligence and ensure their vehicles are well secured,” said Det Insp Chinho. “They should avoid leaving keys in ignition port and leaving strangers in the car.
“They are encouraged to install alarm systems, tracking devices and anti-hijack systems as these act as preventive measures as well as assist in tracking down the stolen motor vehicles.”
Det Insp Chinho said anyone with information that might assist with investigations can contact CID Vehicle Theft Squad Harare on (0242) 660408, the National Complaints Desk on (0242) 703631, or any nearest police station.