US$720,000 Belgravia heist: 2 guards buy cars after pocketing US$53,000 which was dropped by robbers


Two security guards who were part of the response team at Quest Financial Services in Belgravia during the US$720 000 robbery on February 25, yesterday pleaded guilty to the theft of US$53 000 and will be back in court today for sentencing.

Cornelius Muchikange (35) and Nesbert Kachungwe (35) of J and P Security Company appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Ethel Chichera facing a charge of illegally pocketing US$53 000 which had been dropped by robbers fleeing from the crime scene.

They shared the money, with Muchikange buying a Nissan Sylphy sedan for US$3 700 and a residential stand for US$6 000 in Eastview, Harare.

He also used US$2 500 to pay lobola to his in-laws.

Kachungwe bought a Nissan AD van for US$6 100 using his share of the spoils as well as building materials valued US$1 000.

The complainant in this matter is Daniel Mandizvidza (54), the head of operations at Quest Financial Services.

On February 25, at around 1.30am, 12 robbers who were armed with a pistol, a drill, iron bar, bolt cutter and explosives approached Mandizvidza after breaking down the door to his bedroom in one of the buildings at his workplace.

They tied him before ransacking several offices.

They used detonators to blast open a safe in the operations manager’s office and stole cash amounting to US$720 000, 120 Euros, 10 500 rand which they loaded into a plastic bags and a cardboard box.

The robbers were disturbed by the arrival of reaction teams from Safeguard Security Company and J and P Security Service.

The court heard that the duo parked at the front of the premises.

During their escape, the robbers left a grinder, some fuse detonators, a bag with two laptops and dropped cash amounting to US$5 000 in the premises before escaping using the back of the premises.

Whilst outside the premises, one of the plastic bags the robbers were carrying was torn and all the cash dropped to the ground.

The robbers fled without picking up the money.

Muchikange and Kachungwe found the cash amounting to approximately US$53 000 and shared it.

On March 8, detectives from CID Homicide Harare received information that the pair had stolen the cash which was dropped by robbers at the crime scene and arrested the two in central Harare.

On March 7, Muchikange was approached by six male adults purporting to be police officers and they took the remainder of the money he had which amounted to US$15 000.

The same fake CID officers stole US$7 000 from Kachungwe.

Of the stolen US$53 000, only US$15 700 was recovered.

Mr Zebediah Bofu prosecuted.

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