Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Highway tobacco bale robbers nabbed

Highway tobacco bale robbers nabbed

Crime Reporter
A gang of criminals is waylaying trucks delivering tobacco to auction floors and stealing bales while the vehicles are in motion.

This revelation comes after police arrested two people – one of the thieves and a buyer – after raiding a house in the Hopley area where they recovered several bales of tobacco believed to have been stolen from different farmers using the same method.

The two were taken to Mbare Police Station where they are still assisting police with investigations.

Police made a follow-up after discovering that thieves had stolen some tobacco bales in the Westgate area from a lorry ferrying more than 28 bales from a farm in Banket.

The driver, Mr Elisha Kupara, who was travelling with Mr Kelvin Nyadzayo, were stopped by the police after noticing that a rope used to secure the consignment had been cut.

Mr Wensley Muchineri, the owner of the lorry, said: “They were driving towards the city centre and near Westgate Shopping Centre the driver was flashed by a kombi that was coming from the opposite direction and he reduced speed.

“However, there was another vehicle, a small pick-up truck that was following from behind with an unknown number of passengers. One of the passengers then took advantage to jump into the back of the lorry and cut a rope that was used to secure the tobacco bales.”

Police, who were on patrol, noticed the rope that had been cut and flagged Mr Kupara to stop before discovering the offence.

Mr Kupara narrated that he had been flashed by a commuter omnibus and police started to drive around looking for the kombi, which they intercepted, resulting in a high- speed chase.

Warning shots were fired and police managed to arrest one of the suspects, while the others escaped.

The suspect led police to the buyer’s house in Hopley where they arrested him.

The kombi was impounded and taken to Mbare Police Station.

The owner of the tobacco, Mr Tendai Mushangwe, applauded the police and urged them to continue patrolling in order to bring to book some of the criminals involved in such activities.

Investigations revealed that the thieves sold the tobacco to buyers who repacked it at their safe house, before reselling it at the auction floors.

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