By Nqobile Tshili
Three gun-wielding men clad in balaclavas attacked an illegal money changer in Bulawayo’s City Centre before getting away with his BMW vehicle which had R80 000, US$5000 and $ 8 000 bond notes among other valuables.
The suspects pounced on Mr Joseph Karimazondo (34) on Monday at about 9PM while he was in the company of his younger brother and his two friends outside a flat at the corner of Connaught Avenue and Fife Street.
The victim managed to disarm the robber who was wielding a gun and he escaped on foot.
His accomplices sped off in Mr Karimazondo’s BMW that had his money and other valuables.
The suspects are reported to have dumped the car near the United College of Education and the vehicle has since been recovered.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango yesterday confirmed the incident.
“We are investigating an armed robbery which occurred at some flats near the city centre. The victim who is an illegal money changer lost R80 000, US$5000 and $8 000 bond. We strongly appeal to members of the public to avoid travelling around with large sums of money as this makes them targets for criminals,” she said.
Chief Insp Simango said members of the public who might have information that could lead to the arrest of the culprits should come forward.
A source close to the victim said Mr Karimazondo was attacked near his home.
“Bra Joe was driving from the City Centre to his home before meeting his friends who were hanging out in a Volvo near a flat where he lives. When he saw the two friends, he parked his car and joined them leaving his brother in his silver BMW car,” said the source.
“While they were still chatting in the car, three men clad in balaclavas pounced on them. The three started pelting them with stones. One of the accused produced a gun and pointed it at Karimazondo’s friend who was in the driver’s seat and threatened to shoot him. In all this the robbers did not even make any demands.”
Mr Karimazondo and his friends thought the suspects were carrying a fake gun, the source said, prompting the trio to fight back.
The source said one of men attacked Mr Karimazondo’s brother who was still in the BMW, ejecting him from the car. The other robbers escaped in the car, leaving their accomplice who then fled on foot.
The source said Mr Karimazondo, his brother and friends suffered minor injuries.
They took the gun they had confiscated from the robbers to the police and reported the matter. The Chronicle