BUSINESS came to a standstill in Bulawayo’s Central Business District (CBD) yesterday when police cordoned off streets leading to Fidelity Building at Corner 11th Avenue and Fife Street, where suspected armed robbers were reportedly holed up, but the situation later turned into an anti-climax as after combing the premises for four hours with hordes of onlookers holding their breath, it was discovered that the criminals had made good their escape.
The suspected armed robbers reportedly sneaked out with US$6 270 as well as 5 000 Rand from one of the offices in the 12-storey building, before police were called to the scene. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident saying the suspected robbers pounced on a Women Empowerment Trust housed in the building that also acts as a money transfer agent. They also harassed customers who were queuing to get their money who they allegedly locked into a room.
“The ZRP is investigating an armed robbery incident which occurred at a Women Empowerment Trust at 6th Floor, Fidelity Building, Bulawayo where two armed robbers pounced and got away with US$6 270 as well as R5 000. The company is also involved in money transfer. They also harassed customers who wanted to collect and deposit their money,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
He said police reacted swiftly to information and cordoned off the building with initial reports indicating that the robbers were still inside the building. Asst Comm Nyathi said on entering the building, the police realised that the robbers had already sneaked out when they got to the scene. Sources said police then looked at the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage in the building, and observed the two suspected robbers in the act. The suspects reportedly fled in a white Honda Fit vehicle, and by the time security personnel in the building alerted the police, the suspects had escaped.
Business came to a halt in Bulawayo central business district after robbers pounced at one of the offices housed at Fidelity Building.
When a Sunday News crew got to the scene, detectives from the CID Homicide together with their counterparts in other departments, the police Support Unit Special Tactics Team, the Canine Unit as well as other private security companies had reacted to the robbery hoping to corner the robbers.
The cordoning off of the streets attracted scores of people who stood for four hours with the hope of witnessing the arrest of the suspected robbers in a movie style. A few days ago, armed robbers pounced on a CBZ bank outlet situated along the same street. Police said they were on the hunt for the suspects.
— Sunday News