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Cunning thieves terrorise Bulawayo motorists

A number of victims have been seen wailing uncontrollably during the daylight in the CBD after finding their valuables stolen from their cars.

A number of Bulawayo motorists have been left counting losses after being robbed of their valuables by thieves who break into parked vehicles in the city’s’ central business district (CBD).

A number of victims have been seen wailing uncontrollably during the daylight in the CBD after finding their valuables stolen from their cars.

One victim, Juliet Moyo, is still devastated after losing her identity documents car two weeks ago after thieves broke into her vehicle.

She had parked her vehicle at a school situated in the city centre to pick up her daughter when the incident happened.

“I was on a phone call and I remember seeing a red Honda fit park next to my car,” Moyo said.

“In a split second, the front passenger door opened and I saw a huge man in a black balaclava.

“I screamed and he kept saying to me shut up! Shut up!

“The next moment my handbag was grabbed from the seat and he went back to his car and sped off."

“What terrifies me the most is that I lost important court documents for an estate, birth certificates and death certificates.”

Moyo is failing to come to terms with the loss of the important documents and the challenges associated with replacing them.

Another victim, Naria Sibanda, lost her Acer Aspire laptop and gym wear to thieves that broke into her car last week. Sibanda said the incident happened around 5pm in the CBD.

“As usual, I headed to a supermarket located along Fife Street and 12th Avenue to buy a few groceries before heading to the gym,”  she said.

“All I remember is that when I parked my car in front of the supermarket, there were three men standing on the pavement and honestly they seemed to be invested in their conversation.

“I did not think in a few minutes time I would lose my valuables to these men.

 “In no time I was out of the supermarket and to my surprise my door was opened and for a moment I thought to myself could I have forgotten to close my door, but I was sure that there was no way I could disembark from the car and leave the door open."

She added: “Instantly I decided to check all the car doors and alas! , the boot was also open and my laptop and gym bag were gone.

“It was at that moment that I realised that I had fallen victim to thieves.”

Sibanda said she then inquired from some vendors close by who possibly had witnessed the incident.

“They confirmed that they had seen three men walk from the pavement to my car and open the driver’s door and then the boot where they took two bags and quickly jumped into a white Honda fit and drove off,” she said.

“The vendors said at first they did not suspect the men could be thieves because they were neatly dressed until they rushed into their car and sped off leaving my car doors open.”

Sibanda has not recovered her valuables despite reporting the theft to the police. Another victim, Dorah Jason, lost her IPhone 13 Pro Max.

“I went to a hardware shop in Belmont on Saturday morning and when I arrived I noticed that there was a white Honda Fit car that was continuously circling the parking lot,” Jason said.

“For a moment I thought maybe the driver was merely looking for parking.”

Jason said she locked her car using the central locking system and went into the shop.

“When I was in the shop I realised I had forgotten my phone in the car and I quickly dashed back.

“To my surprise I found the driver's door opened and my phone was gone."

Jason said she rushed back to the shop where she alerted the security guard manning the door who suggested that they should check the CCTV footage.

“It is when we went through the CCTV that we saw a man disembarking from the white Honda Fit car  and walking towards my car before opening the driver’s door.

“In no time he walked back to his car and sped off,” she said.

Investigations carried by this reporter revealed that the thieves either use metal objects to forcefully break into the cars or jam the central locking system.

A source at the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) in Bulawayo who spoke on condition of anonymity said the department was investigating numerous such cases.

“From our investigations we noted that these thieves use sharp metal objects to force open the cars to gain access to the valuables that they would have spotted in the cars of the victims,” the VTS insider said.

“Also, the thieves are using a jamming technique to gain access into the cars.

“What happens in this case is that, when a motorist disembarks from their car, the moment they press their remote to lock their car, the thieves will be simultaneously pressing their own remote and as a result the car does not lock, thus gaining access to the car."

Bulawayo police spokesperson inspector Abednico Ncube urged motorists to desist from leaving valuables in their vehicles.

“In some instances, motorists leave their valuables such as laptops, large sums of cash and handbags with important documents in the boot and they will not be aware that the thieves are watching or monitoring them from a distance,” Ncube said,

“Motorists must at all times make sure that their doors are locked and windows closed.

“Currently there are TTI marshals at the parking bays during working hours and this obviously minimises car break-ins but their presence does not completely stop thieves from pouncing on vehicles, therefore motorists need to be cautious at all times.”

Statistics by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) in December 2023 revealed that Bulawayo has the highest crime rate among the country’s 10 provinces.

According to ZimStat, Bulawayo’s crime rate stood at a staggering 2,751.25 per 100,000 people, a figure more than double the national average of 1,201.

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