Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Correspondent
Six armed robbers pounced on two security guards delivering cash at Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) 8th Avenue branch in Bulawayo, disarmed them, hijacked their armoured vehicle before getting away with an undisclosed amount of money yesterday morning.
The robbery happened at around 8AM, in the full view of some people, who were oblivious of the drama unfolding in the sanitary lane along 8th Avenue, between Jason Moyo and Joshua Mqabuko Streets.
Like a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster, the suspects are said to have first hijacked a Mercedes Benz in Selbourne Park suburb at around 7AM and used it to commit the bank robbery. The driver of the hijacked Mercedes Benz is recovering in hospital.
After the robbery at the bank, the gang drove the armoured vehicle to Woodlands suburb where they dumped it before hijacking another car, this time a Nissan Hardbody which they used as a getaway car before dumping it again.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the robbery saying the cash belonged to Zupco.
“Police are investigating a case where a robbery occurred at a local financial institution in Bulawayo in the morning.
Fawcett cash-in-transit team was delivering cash from Zupco which was money from transactions conducted over the weekend. The Fawcett team arrived at the sanitary lane behind CBZ, corner Jason Moyo and 8th with about nine trunks. When they were taking in one of the trucks into the bank, a Mercedes Benz which we are told was hijacked from a complainant earlier on, drove behind them,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said about six suspects who were armed attacked the Fawcett driver, took away a firearm that was on the dashboard and then turned on the other guard who was guarding the other trucks and again attacked him before driving off with the armoured vehicle and cash.
Ass Comm Nyathi said the robbers later dumped three empty trunks while driving towards Woodlands Shopping Centre.
He said the armed robbers later hijacked a Nissan Hardbody and transferred the remaining five trunks with cash into the vehicle before dumping the armoured vehicle. The Nissan Hardbody was later found dumped again together with five empty trunks.
“Police are conducting investigations and we are appealing to people that might have information leading to the arrest of the suspects to contact any nearest police station,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Fawcett managing director Mr Andy Laing, also confirmed the robbery.
“In a nutshell our vehicle was attacked when they were delivering cash at CBZ in Bulawayo 8th Avenue branch. I’m not sure how many armed robbers were there but they were several, at least four. There were two getaway cars, one of which was stolen in Bulawayo,” said Mr Laing.
“They disarmed two of our men, they offloaded tin boxes into their two vehicles and they couldn’t fit all the boxes into the vehicles and then they decided to take our vehicle.
“They drove to a house close to Woodlands Service Station in Ilanda suburb. Outside the house they stole a Nissan Pickup truck and dumped our vehicle there. I think the pickup truck has been recovered and our vehicle has also been recovered and we have located the empty boxes around the suburbs,” said Mr Laing.
He could not say how much was stolen.
“We had already made some deliveries during the day. At the time of robbery, it was one vehicle but other deliveries had been made earlier,” said Mr Laing.
“Our driver who was attacked, was treated and discharged. He was beaten at the back of the head with either the butt of a pistol or a baton. We hope they catch these guys,” he said.
CBZ regional manager Mr Abisha Gweshe, referred all questions to police as the matter was under investigation. — Follow on Twitter @bonganinkunzi