BULAWAYO – Police have arrested a soldier and two civilian accomplices who went on a four-month house-breaking spree targeting senior officers’ homes at Imbizo Barracks on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
The soldier, identified by colleagues as Adimos Sibanda (32) of 11 Combat Group, allegedly worked with Ntando Ncube (32) and Madoda Khumalo who was said to be a receiver and distributor of stolen goods, to unleash a reign of terror on officers, beginning in December last year.
Ncube and Sibanda would allegedly break into houses, steal, hide their loot in the bush and Khumalo would drive up and collect the goods at night.
A police officer who declined to be named said Khumalo was a “fence” for stolen property and he operated along Main Street between 6th Avenue and Leopold Takawira Avenue. The three, however, ran out of luck when Ncube was allegedly caught red-handed trying to break into an officer’s house on Monday night.
After being interrogated, he reportedly implicated Sibanda and Khumalo, leading to all of them being arrested. Goods worth thousands of dollars, which included plasma television sets, decoders, laptops and car radios and batteries, were reportedly recovered following the trio’s arrest.
Soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the pair had “perfected” break-ins to an extent that at one time, it was suspected that there were goblins that were stealing.
“They left no clues and efforts to trap them yielded nothing. Some officers even stationed armed guards at their houses, but in the morning, they would discover that the thieves had struck again. In January, someone suggested that goblins were responsible. There was so much confusion that even those stationed on guard duty were put on the suspects list,” said a soldier.
Another soldier said it was good that the culprits had been caught because people had started mistrusting each other at the barracks.
“On Monday, Ncube tried to break into an officer’s house and the officer heard him.
“The officer woke up and went around the house, armed with a huge stick. He found Ncube busy trying to force a window open and struck him on the head. He then called other officers and they convinced him to spill the beans about his connection, Adimosi. Everyone is relieved that the culprits have been finally identified,” said the soldier.
Another soldier said everyone was shocked that Sibanda was involved as he was a very quiet person that no one ever suspected.
“He is a plumber in the army and I think he would identify houses that they could break into whenever he was called to attend to leaks,” explained the soldier.
Contacted for comment, the police spokesperson for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo, confirmed the incident.
However, at the time of giving his comment, Khumalo had not yet been arrested.
“We have picked up two men, both aged 32 in connection with six counts of unlawful entry and theft involving electrical gadgets. The matter is under investigation and the two will be taken to court soon,” said Insp Moyo.