Four people, including two Zimbabweans and two Botswana women, appeared in court last week charged with impersonating police officers and stealing goods amounting to P34 150.

The arrest comes after Francistown had been abuzz for months with reports of a gang of police imposters robbing businesses.

Tshepo Bebe (30) from Zimbabwe and his Batswana co-accused, Denis Tabulawa (34) Gaone Smart Patronella (39) and another Zimbabwean Esther Chengeta (45) are charged with stealing P34 150 at Ntshe location in June.

The stolen goods are alleged to include Nokia and Samsung cellphones as well as Mascom, beMobile and Orange airtime.

The State says the four were wearing police uniforms when they committed the offence.

In court, Inspector Mengistu Chigala said two other suspects in the matter were at large. Principal Magistrate Dumisani Basupi granted the State’s request for Bebe to be denied bail as he did not have a passport and had entered the country illegally. The other accused were granted P5 000 bail with an additional requirement to provide two sureties each paying P1 000.

They were ordered not to interfere with witnesses and report to the Criminal Investigations Department every Monday.

Meanwhile, Chengeta's application for the return of her seized vehicle was quashed after Chigala argued that it was part of evidence.

"We are still on the lookout for other accused persons who are on the run in connection with this matter and our investigations are still at their initial stages. We cannot release the car to the accused," he said.

Basupi concurred saying the charges involved in the case were "very serious".

"The car should not be returned to Chengeta because it forms part of police evidence and investigations," he said.

The accused, who are due in court next month for their mention, were advised to bring their attorneys during their next appearance in court. – mmegi

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