Robbers in daring US$334k Gweru heist
Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
Six robbers on Thursday evening stole US$334 290 when they mounted a fake police road block between Gweru and Kwekwe to catch and block a shipment of cash being carried by Fawcetts security company.
Police are now on a major hunt for the gang.
The robbers, two in police uniforms and four, including one clutching an AK47 assault rifle, had mounted the fake roadblock at the 234km peg along Harare-Bulawayo Road.
They waved down the cash-in-transit vehicle driving from Bulawayo to Harare to drop the cash.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the crew of four left Bulawayo on Thursday at around 5.30am to deliver cash to Access Bank Harare Branch. They were using a Fawcetts Security motor vehicle, an Isuzu KB250 navy blue in colour, and left Bulawayo with two small trunks containing US$33 000 and US$261 290, said Asst Comm Nyathi in a statement.
Stopping in Gweru, they collected a third trunk from Fawcetts holding between US$30 000 and US$40 000 and carried on north.
The crew comprised commander Langelihle Moyo (42), driver Bongani Mapfumo (29), armed guard Emanuel Nhamo (47) and trunk carrier Thomas Chisambadzi (49), all from Bulawayo and are all employees of Fawcetts Security.
At the 243km peg, the crew was waved to stop by two robbers in police uniform.
One of the robbers was wearing police traffic sleeves and bib with the other four in civilian attire.
Driver Mapfumo allegedly slowed down and stopped and one of the civilian -dressed robbers was reported to have produced an AK47 assault rifle and threatened commander Moyo while another accused in civilian attire produced a pistol and threatened the driver.
“They poked the two complainants on the face and pulled them out of the vehicle. Moyo was assaulted and tied both hands with a string. He was also disarmed of his service pistol, a CZ with six live rounds.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said Nhamo was reportedly disarmed of his firearm, an Escort E256 serial number unknown and all four crew were herded into the back under the guard of the robber with the AK47.
One robber then drove some few metres towards Kwekwe and turned right into a dust road. After about 1 km, the robbers reportedly stopped and used a metal object to break the locks of the trunks. “Mapfumo and Moyo were taken to the back of the truck where Nhamo and Chisambadzi were forced to open the door. The robbers then broke the door of the vehicle using a bob jan spanner,” said Ass Com Nyathi.
They offloaded all the money into their black bag. They also took crews’ cellphones, said Ass Comm Nyathi.
The gang drove off in their getaway car which was not noticed by the crew.
After about 30 minutes, the crew freed themselves and searched the area where they had been dumped and managed to recover the Escort E256 rifle with its 10 live rounds and a cellphone belonging to Nhamo which had dropped and used it to call Fawcett Bulawayo advising them of the attack.