Police bust criminal syndicates

By Freeman Razemba

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has arrested more than 20 criminals, including armed robbers and recovered 58 vehicles, most of which were used to commit armed robberies countrywide.

The suspects were arrested during the past two weeks in separate incidents in and around Harare.

Some of the recovered vehicles had been hijacked from their owners, while others were bought using funds from criminal activities.

Police also recovered $107 000 bond notes, US$18 411, R2 930, 6 230 bond coins, 16 guns including two AK rifles, explosives, machetes, crowbars, pepper sprays, 898 rounds of ammunition and various electrical gadgets.

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Also recovered were 1,5 tonnes mbanje, boxes of Broncleer (Bronco) and Histalix.

National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests yesterday.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to thank members of the public for their cooperation and information which has led to the arrest of criminal syndicates who include armed robbers, drug peddlers and carjackers,” he said.

Chief Supt Nyathi said from January to date, detectives in Harare have also recovered various properties, ranging from colour television sets, one-and-a-half tonnes of mbanje, unregistered medicines and other contraband, which include Broncleer, Khat and skin lightening creams.

“Police also recovered 58 motor vehicles, some of which were stolen and used during the commission of offences or were proceeds of crime, as well as weapons, which were being used in the commission of robbery cases.

“The recovered weapons include two AK rifles, five revolvers and nine pistols, machetes, explosives, bayonets, crowbars and pepper sprays,” he said.

Investigations carried out by the police, he said, revealed that most victims were robbed after boarding private vehicles or after picking up passengers.

He said most of the criminals used vehicles such as Honda Fit, Toyota Wish and Toyota Raum to commit offences.

“The police are encouraging members of the public to use ordinary public service vehicles, which are registered and traceable.

“They should avoid boarding motor vehicles with no registration number plates and standing at dark places while looking for transport.

“In a similar vein, police have also noted the increase in theft of tobacco bales being transported to auction floors.

In one such incident, which occurred on 10 May 2018, at around 2am, criminals intercepted a truck that was carrying 39 bales of tobacco and some of them jumped on top of the bales and started throwing them down,” Chief Supt Nyathi said.

He said fortunately, alert police details intervened, resulting in a shoot-out in which two suspects were arrested.

He warned drug peddlers that police were on high alert and will arrest anyone involved in such activities without fear or favour.

Chief Supt Nyathi said police recently arrested Learnmore Tom and Joseph Tom in Mbare and, recovered 273 bottles of Histalix, 106 bottles of Broncleer and cash.

He appealed to members of the public to continue supplying the police with information that leads to the arrest of criminals.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a Chinese couple after they were found in possession of five sachets of cocaine and an unlicensed firearm that was stashed in a gun cabinet.

The two – Cheng Lixiang (38) and Zhang Xiaohui (33) – appeared in court yesterday and were released on $300 bail each by Harare magistrate Ms Victoria Mashamba. The Herald