Whinsley Masara/Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporters
SIX gun-toting men raided Choppies Supermarket in Bulawayo’s Pumula South suburb before getting away with more than $700 in a two-minute movie style robbery.
Witnesses said the suspects entered the shop disguised as shoppers and one of them assumed a position at the door, fired a shot in the air before ordering everyone to lie down.
The other five, witnesses said, ransacked the tills and within seconds, they were done.
The robber manning the door reportedly fired three more shots while ordering everyone to continue facing down and not to move an inch before the gang made off in a getaway car.
The incident happened on Monday at about 7.30PM.
When The Chronicle visited the supermarket yesterday morning, business had resumed although the staff was still traumatised.
Choppies Pumula South branch manager Mr Bornface Nyambe said the robbery unfolded like an action movie script.
“They were in and out within two minutes. They walked in disguised as shoppers. The supermarket was packed and they took their positions around the shop,” said Mr Nyambe.
“I was working on my desk just authorising invoices. It was around 7:34PM. I then heard a very loud noise, but at the back of my mind I just thought that it may have been an electrical fault or a cable that had short circuited. Reality struck when I heard the second shot being fired.”
He said the gang of six shouted obscenities before ordering everyone to lie down.
“They got in and ransacked the tills. According to our calculations, they got away with $748,” he said.
Mr Nyambe said the suspects then came to his office and demanded more money.
“One of them came over to my desk where I was crouching. He pulled me up, held me by the collar and demanded that I give them more money. I think my life was spared because one of them came in and called him out. They then left,” he said.
Mr Nyambe said the robbers then made off in their getaway vehicle that had been parked behind the supermarket.
He hailed the swift reaction of the police who attended the scene within five minutes.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the robbery, saying the suspects were still at large.
“We are investigating a case of armed robbery that occurred in Pumula South suburb on Monday night. Six men approached the shop and robbed them at gun point. Gun shots were fired but no one was injured. The unidentified robbers fled from the scene, disappearing into darkness, and are still at large,” she said.
Insp Simango urged shop-owners to avoid keeping large sums of money in their tills especially towards closing times.
She applauded the customers for not confronting the robbers as this could have resulted in injuries or loss of lives.
“We continue to warn people not to resist robbers or any armed attackers’ instructions. In many cases people are injured or killed during resistance,” said Insp Simango.