Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Reporter
FOUR gun-wielding robbers got away with a total of US$100 000 and R500 000 after intercepting a cash-in-transit Safeguard vehicle outside a money transfer agent in Bulawayo’s city centre yesterday.
The security details were about to deliver money at a Mukuru branch located along 13th Avenue, between Lobengula and Herbert Chitepo Street when the robbery occurred.
One of the men opened fire but no one was hit.
The other robbers went for money boxes after disarming Safeguard security guards.
Within two minutes the gang had sped off.
A trending video shows that as the four men were about to speed away, one of the Safeguard security guards fired at their vehicle which was way too late.
The incident also halted business at the Mukuru branch.
The incident is one of the numerous robberies that have been recorded in Bulawayo where armed criminals target companies and individuals with hard cash.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the number of cash-in-transit heists have become worrisome in Zimbabwe.
He said investigations are underway but police are convinced that the robbery was a result of a tip-off from some employees either from the security company or the bureau de change.
“I can confirm that we are investigating a cash-in-transit armed robbery case.
The incident occurred around 8AM at a Mukuru outlet along 13th Avenue between Herbert Chitepo and Lobengula streets,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“Four men intercepted a Safeguard cash delivery van before forcing the driver out.
These four were using a silver Toyota Mark X vehicle and they managed to disarm two security officers who were in the vehicle.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said three of the robbers were armed with pistols while one was carrying a rifle.
“They then grabbed money boxes which had a total of US$100 000 and R500 000 and sped off. One of the armed security officers tried shooting at the vehicle as it drove off but it was way too late.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said it was worrying to note that cash-in-transit crimes were becoming a norm in Zimbabwe.
“This is not the first incident we have recorded where money is lost under similar circumstances.
Investigations are underway but it’s clear that it’s an inside job, someone tipped off these robbers,” he said.
An eye witnesses said the movie-style robbery took about two minutes and before people could react, the robbers were gone.
“The car came speeding and parked next to the Safeguard vehicle.
I just saw men pointing guns at the security guards and before we could react they grabbed the money and dashed away.
It was a silver car and all the men were armed with guns which left us shaken.
We only see that in movies but today we witnessed it right in front of our eyes,” she said.
“ We are actually happy that no one died, it could have been worse since they had all those guns and appeared serious, they did everything in less than two minutes and left us shocked.”
Last year in March, two burglars raided Mukuru Send Money Home transfer agent in Bulawayo city at Zapalala Supermarket along Jason Moyo Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.
They got away with more than US$17 000 and R100 000 in what was suspected to be an inside job.
It is not clear what time the burglars broke into the shop but the raid was discovered when the money transfer agent employees reported for duty at about 6:45AM the following day. — @thamamoe