Monday, 20 April 2020

COPS OPEN FIRE ON LOCKDOWN THIEVES


TWO suspected thieves were arrested after police opened fire and deflated one of the tyres of their getaway car during a dramatic high-speed chase, as cases of unlawful entry and theft dominate the Bulawayo crime scene during the lockdown.

Police said criminals were taking advantage of the lockdown to raid deserted business premises and parked cars, with $50 000 worth of property stolen on the first day of the lockdown.

Thieves are mainly targeting food in residential areas. They are also capitalising on deserted streets to attack individuals roaming the streets in violation of lockdown regulations.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said six cases of unlawful entry and theft and arrests of several suspects, including two men who led police on a high-speed chase after theft from motor vehicles, have been recorded in the city.
The arrests were made between March 28 and April 18 and stolen goods worth more than $100 000 were recovered.

“Between the period of March 28 and April 18, we received six cases of unlawful entry into premises and theft and usually the criminals will be targeting business premises like shops, hospitals and schools. We had a case where the suspects went to Mpilo Central Hospital and stole eight doors, four electronic breakers and several electrical sockets,” said Insp Ncube.

“Property that was stolen on the first day of the lockdown on the March 30 is valued at $50 000. The suspects went to a butchery in the central business district during first week of the lockdown and they broke into the premises and stole beef, chicken cuts, sausage and soft drinks all valued at $5 638.”

The suspects broke into Luveve High School and stole five desks and four chairs valued at $6 000.

Insp Ncube said most of the cases of unlawful entry and theft occurring in the western suburbs involve suspects who break into houses and steal food stuffs.

“While we are conducting patrols, we are also urging owners of premises to secure their premises by enlisting security guards. As ZRP Bulawayo province, we have not received alarming cases of domestic violence and we would like commend the local community. We also encourage people to stay at home as part of lockdown regulations meant to protect lives,” he said.

Insp Ncube said they also recorded incidents of people who were mugged while moving around in violation of lockdown regulations.

“It appears that these suspects know that there would be few people on the streets. These criminals are taking advantage of the lockdown to pounce on people who do not comply and are spotted walking in the streets and pathways in the evenings or even during the day because there would be few people moving around,” he said.

Gift Timothy Derera (21), Innocent Mutsipa (25) who are both unemployed were arrested for stealing a cellphone worth $25 000 from a car, which was parked in the central business district.

They appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Shepherd Munjanja facing charges of theft from a motor vehicle and remanded to May 8.

The prosecutor, Ms Grace Zhou said on April 15 at around 11AM, the complainant parked his car, a Toyota Harrier at a parking lot at corner Robert Mugabe Way and 9th Avenue. He secured the doors by locking them before the two accused persons in the company of their three accomplices who are still at large arrived at the scene in their car, a Honda Fit.

“The accused persons forced opened the front doors of the complainant’s car and stole a G-Tel cellphone which was inside. After committing the alleged offence, the drove away in their getaway car,” said Ms Zhou.

Insp Ncube said the two accused persons were arrested after a dramatic high-speed chase.

Police received a tip off that the accused persons were spotted driving a blue Honda Fit, which has no number plates after breaking into another vehicle in the central business district.

The police followed the car along Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue into Old Victoria Falls road and spotted the accused parked near United College of Education.

On seeing the police approaching, the accused persons got suspicious and they jumped into their car and sped off, resulting in the high-speed chase.

“One of the police officers opened fire and shot a left front wheel of the accused persons’ car using a CZ pistol and it deflated. The accused persons got out of their vehicle and tried to flee, but police caught up with two accused persons and apprehended them,” said Insp Ncube.

Four of the suspects managed to escape and they are still at large. The getaway car was impounded and it was loaded with groceries. Chronicle

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