Armed robber killed, 3 injured as gate-away car hits tree during high-speed chase

File pic: Car overturns

AN armed robber died in a horrific accident last week, while his three gun-toting colleagues sustained serious injuries after their gate-away vehicle hit a tree during a high-speed chase with vigilant residents of Palmerstone suburb in Mutare.

It was a case of a foiled robbery after the gun-toting and machete-wielding gang — Tonderai Mukoroko, Tafadzwa Manyengavana, Brian Badza and Griven Chipande — pounced on a Palmerstone family, gained entry into the house before abandoning their mission in a huff.

The victim, Mr Calvin Munyu alerted neighbours who started honking their cars, distracting the robbers in the process.

The robbers retreated.

They bolted from the house, jumped into their car and sped off towards Grants Service Station near Mutare Polytechnic where they were involved in an accident which claimed one of the robbers, Griven Chipande.

Chipande died on admission to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.

His three accomplices, Mukoroko, Manyengavana and Badza, were not asked to plead when they recently appeared before Mutare magistrate, Mrs Annie Ndiraya, facing armed robbery charges.

They were remanded in custody to March 13.

Acting Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka, said Mukorokoro, Manyengavana, Badza and Chipande had earlier pounced on a Chikanga man, Mr William Matizha, who had visited a friend in Fairbridge Park suburb and robbed him of US$50.

“Mr William Matizha of Chikanga was parked in Fairbridge Extension where he wanted to see a friend when the robbers pounced on him. While at the gate, the four suspects appeared in a Honda Fit, Registration Number, AFV3555. One of the accused got out of the vehicle wielding a gun. He grabbed a bag and US$50 from Mr Matizha before bolting from the scene.

“On the same night, at around midnight, the four proceeded to Independence Close in Palmerstone where they jumped over a perimeter fence and pounced on the complainant, Mr Calvin Munyu, intending to rob him. They were wielding a pistol and a machete. Mr Munyu called for help and neighbours started honking their cars to alert the neigbhourhood of the intruders.

“The accused persons retreated and sped off along Josiah Tongogara Road towards Grants Service Station. Mr Munyu and two neighbours gave chase using their vehicles. Police were also alerted. The suspects were involved in a road accident before Grants Service Station, at corner Josiah Tongogara and Longmore Crescent in Palmerstone after the driver lost control of the vehicle before it rammed into a tree,” said Assistant Inspector Chinyoka.

Three of the robbers were arrested at the scene.

They were taken to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital under police guard.

Mukoroko was later arrested in Tashinga area of Marondera a day after the incident.

Chipande later died after admission.

Items that were recovered include a Huawei smartphone, four machetes, two crow bars, a brown wallet containing US$1, screwdriver, hammer, pallet riffle, okapi knife, Itel tablet, Itel cellphone and one pair of pliers.

In an interview, Mr Munyu relieved the harrowing experience, and said he suspects that the four were the same robbers who pounced on his home last month.

He said he came face-to-face with one of the robbers who was determined to shoot him.

“I woke up after hearing some disturbing noise outside. The noise was coming from the kitchen door. One of the suspects gained entry through the kitchen door. I quickly alerted my neighbour that I was under attack. At that moment, I saw one of the suspects standing right in front of me. He shouted to his colleagues asking for a gun.

“During that confusion, his colleagues called him to retreat as my neighbours were honking their cars. My neighbours saved my life because of their swiftness. The robbers vanished from my house. We gathered as neighbours and gave chase using our cars. They were involved in an accident and when we arrived at the scene three of them were struggling to get out of their car. One of them had already vanished from the scene,” said Mr Munyu. Manica Post.

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