A thief stole a laptop, a bed, clothes and $600 cash before setting a Magwegwe West house in Bulawayo on fire on Tuesday.

The thief is suspected to have sneaked into the house while the occupants were still in and then hid in the house. After the occupants had left, the thief then ransacked the house taking the various items and cash before using the spare keys to unlock the doors to get out.

According to the owner of the house, Sinovuyo Mlalazi, there was no break-in at the house where several items including the $600 cash went missing. She said she suspects the thief who torched the house sneaked in when they were still in the house and they unknowingly locked the thief inside the house. The thief must have used spare keys to unlock the doors as the spare keys which Mlalazi said were in the hosue, are also missing.

Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer Richard Peterson said when they attended to the fire they realised that something was amiss and reported the case to the police for investigations.

"I confirm that we attended a fire at a house in Magwegwe West. We are still investigating the cause of the fire but we have reported the case to the police so they could also assist in the investigations."

He said preliminary investigations indicate that the fire was deliberately started by someone as all the electrical appliances were off and according to the owners, there was noone at the house.

Peterson said Mlalazi said there was cash in a bag but they did not find any burnt money in the bag.

He said indications were that the fire started where the missing money was kept.

"When I left for work I locked the door, the screen door and gate. Spare keys were inside the house but they are missing together with $600 for my child’s school fees," said Mlalazi.

She said she suspected a thief lit the fire to conceal the theft.

"I believe someone sneaked into the house and waited for us to leave and thereafter stole the items and cash before setting the house on fire," she said.

Neighbours said after noticing the fire, they rushed to the house and found the screen door open and the outer door unlocked.

"When we rushed to put out the fire we found the gate locked but the screen door and the outer door were not locked," said a neighbour, Siqobengani Ndlovu.

Acting Bulawayo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Abednico Ncube said he could not comment on the matter as he was in a meeting.





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