Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
GOLD worth about $1 million has mysteriously vanished from an armoury at Plumtree Police Station in Matabeleland South in what is arguably the biggest theft at a police station in the country.
The gold weighing 28,5kg was being kept as an exhibit at the station since September 2015.
Sources at the station said the total value of the stolen gold is $970 000 and nothing was recovered.
The gold was being kept at the police station after Border Control and Minerals Unit police officers seized it at Plumtree Border Post from a man who had tried to smuggle it into Botswana.
The unknown suspect tore the khaki paper in which the gold was wrapped and stole all of it leaving the papers in a bucket in the armoury.
The theft was discovered on Wednesday at around 11AM by officers who were on duty. Sources at the police station said the theft came to light as police officers were searching for two missing rifles that had been booked in the charge office.
When an officer went to check at the armoury for the missing rifles, he was surprised to find the armoury door not locked.
“When he proceeded to the armoury intending to open the armoury, he observed that there was a key inserted on the key hole of the armoury door. Officers discovered that the door was not locked.
“One of the officers who had knowledge about the gold kept in the armoury as an exhibit proceeded to the bucket where the alleged gold weighing 28,5297 kg was kept wrapped in a khaki paper and discovered that the khaki paper was torn and the gold was missing.
“However the khaki papers were left in the bucket,” said a source.
Investigations are underway.
Contacted for comment yesterday, national chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was checking on the matter.
The gold was seized from a suspect identified as Pudohope James Rove who had hidden it in a secret compartment in his vehicle’s loading box.
The suspect was driving a Toyota Hilux and was on his way to Botswana when he was intercepted at the exit gate after completing all immigration and Zimra formalities. Detectives who were on duty stopped the vehicle and conducted a search. They discovered a false compartment in the loading box and upon carrying further searches, discovered 76 pieces of smelted gold which had a total weight of 28,541kg.—@winnie_masara
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