The Zimbabwe Republic Police has arrested five suspects after they were found in possession of a truck believed to have been stolen in South Africa while a Bulawayo woman lost her vehicle to thieves while attending a funeral after she had left the keys in the ignition port.
Police are still conducting investigations on these two cases.
The five who were arrested with the Toyota Hilux single cab were intercepted along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road last week after the vehicle had run out of fuel.
Police discovered that the vehicle had been stolen in the neighbouring country and smuggled into the country without any documentation.
The suspects are still assisting police with investigations and police have since engaged their counterparts on the case.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed.
“We are investigating a case in which a white Toyota Hilux single cab was stolen in South Africa on December 3, 2020 and driven to Zimbabwe. Police managed to arrest five suspects at Mazunga area, 255km along Bulawayo- Beitbridge Road, after the vehicle had run out of fuel. Investigations are in progress,” he said.
Meanwhile, the silver Toyota Spacio registration number ABV 2569 that was stolen in Bulawayo on Sunday at around 8pm after the owner parked it while attending a funeral has been found.
She had left the keys in the ignition while her cousin remained in the vehicle.
Asst Comm Nyathi said, “The cousin later got out and only to come back to find the vehicle stolen. On December 7, 2020, the vehicle was recovered dumped in Entumbane, with the car battery and radio stolen. The vehicle appears to have been dumped after being involved in an accident.
South Africa’s organised crime busting unit, the Hawks, recently arrested nine people, including five police officers and one immigration officer at Beitbridge Border Post on charges of corruption, fraud and smuggling of stolen vehicles from that country into Zimbabwe during a crime intelligence driven operation code named, “Mirror”.
The group had been put under surveillance for two years.
Over 40 people were also arrested in the past 12 months while smuggling stolen vehicles into Zimbabwe from South Africa through illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River.
Smuggling of vehicles between Zimbabwe and South Africa’s border is rife, amid reports that most of the cars would be destined for Tanzania and Malawi. Some of the vehicles also find their way on to the local market.
“Investigations into this matter are continuing.”
In a separate incident, a Harare man also lost US$500 cash, Nokia cell-phone, Techno cell-phone, Samsung cell-phone, Lenovo cell-phone, car keys, 50kg rice, five dressed chickens, and fish to seven armed robbers who raided his house in Tynwald North around 1am.
The seven robbers, who were armed with an unidentified pistol and iron bars stormed his house before demanding cash and valuable property.