By Oriel Khumalo
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) , Criminal Investigation Department(CID) has raised concerns over the increase in the number of robbery cases where motorists are being robbed of their motor vehicles after picking up passengers, with the highest number of the incidents being recorded along Harare-Bulawayo road.
According to Detective Inspector Portia Chinho, the Provincial Community Relations and Liaison Officer, the culprits operate as a gang along highway roads .
“The cases are occurring everywhere around the country but the highest number is being recorded along Harare-Bulawayo Road. A gang of about four members is operating along this road. At times the criminals have a female member who pretends to be a genuine commuter.”
When they board , the criminals have an orchestrated way of attacking unsuspecting drivers .
“After boarding the vehicle, one of the criminals normally asks for a recess or requests to be dropped off purporting to have arrived at the destination. As soon as the driver slows down or stops, one of the criminals grabs the driver from the back and assaults the victim depending on the resistance while one of the criminals takes over the vehicle. In most cases the victim is dragged to the back seat where he is searched, tied with shoe laces or seatbelts. They drive to a secluded place and dump the victim,” said Detective Inspector Chino.
She warned motorists against picking up strangers as they risk being robbed of their motor vehicles and other valuables.
Commuters also become victims of the robberies once the criminals start using the stolen vehicles .
“The commuting public is also urged to avoid boarding any private cars they come along as they have not been spared as well by the robbers. After robbing the motorists, the robbers go on to pick up commuters to various destinations, rob them along the way and dump them. ”
Detective Inspector Chino appealed to members of the public with information that may lead to the arrest of the criminals to contact any nearest police station or National Complaints Desk on (04) 703631 or Whatsapp number 0712 800 197.