Police have launched a manhunt for 15 armed robbers who are masquerading as members of the uniformed forces after stealing uniforms from law enforcement agencies and soldiers, the Daily News can report.
One of the suspects Tinaye Rice has since been arrested after he was shot on the leg by the police during apprehension.
He was taken into police custody on January 31 and upon his arrest in Harare, he was allegedly found in possession of the stolen FN rifle, a Norinco pistol and car keys for an Audi vehicle they had abandoned in Chinhoyi after it developed a mechanical fault.
On Friday last week, Rice appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing 15 counts of armed robbery.
He was remanded on his hospital bed to February 15.
Prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.
The other 14 suspects are still on the run.
The gang went on a crime-spree in Chegutu on January 18, stealing cash and other valuables from their victims whom they stripped of their clothes.
Allegations are that on the day in question at around 9:30pm, Rice and his 14 accomplices who are still at large approached Li Jiping and Lieu Hia Ling who were at their home in Alexandra Street, Chegutu.
They were allegedly armed with rifles, pistols, machetes, iron bars and baton sticks and clad in army and police uniforms.
It is the State’s case that they indiscriminately fired shots and robbed the duo of a Toyota Hilux, a mill starter, clothes, a pistol and cash.
They proceeded to rob Farisai Chihoro who was at the cottage of a cell phone before proceeding to another cottage where they allegedly shot Obert Kaviyano once on the upper left arm before robbing him of a DSTV decoder and cash amounting to $40.
On the same day, they also robbed Bruno Damiliano of a Peugot 406 and a cell phone, it is alleged.
After the robbing spree, the suspects kidnapped the complainants and dumped them at City Bakery in Chegutu
According to court papers, Rice and his accomplices went back to Jiping’s house and pounced on police officers who were attending the armed robbery scene.
They allegedly stripped naked Givemore Chirisa, Simba Katerere and Precious Mahara, robbed them of their riot gear and service pistol and dumped them at the same bakery.
During the same night, the court heard that Rice and his accomplices intercepted Paul Mutipforo, a police officer who was driving a Mazda B2200 police vehicle registration number ZRP 482 along Cattle Trail Road and was in the company of a colleague, Andrew Mukondombera.
The police officers were attending to a robbery scene committed by the accused persons in the same town.
The robbers, who were still clad in army and police uniforms fired at the police officers, deflating the tyres of the police car in the process.
They allegedly robbed the police of their identity cards and cash before robbing Mukondombera of his service pistol loaded with 10 rounds of magazine.
The victims were again dumped at City Bakery.
Using the same modus operandi, the court heard that the 15 suspects pounced on three security guards who were on duty at the Chegutu Municipality’s Engineering Department and robbed them of cell phones, wallets, clothing, including undergarments and left them naked.
Clad in army and police uniforms, the daring suspects allegedly robbed police officers who responded to the robbery scene of their service pistols before stripping them naked.
It is alleged that the various individuals were robbed of valuables worth more than $49 000.