POLICE in Gweru have arrested six notorious masked armed robbers, among them a soldier who were allegedly behind over 30 robbery cases involving over half a million dollars in the Midlands capital.
The six robbers are part of an eight-member gang which was armed with a rifle and machetes when they were involved in a spate of robberies in Gweru between February 1 and March 3.
This was heard during the appearance of Tafara Tenson Muzanenhamo Maidza (34), Value Mutizira (40) -a soldier, Romeo Tinashe Mukwanda (31), Farirai Brandy (42) all from Gweru, Clive Javangwe (37) from Kadoma and Welcome Tawedzerwa Blessing Zhou (29) from Bulawayo before Gweru magistrate Ms Miriam Banda facing unlawful entry into premises, armed robbery and theft of a motor vehicle.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The State led by Ms Constance Madzudzu opposed bail and the suspects were remanded in custody to March 30 for routine remand since police investigations are still underway.
Ms Madzudzu told the court that between February 1 and March 3, the accused persons in the company of two accomplices who are still at large allegedly hatched a plan to steal from the complainants.
She said they equipped themselves with a rifle, machetes and woolen masks and targeted residents of Southdowns, Southview, Lundi Park, Athlone and Northlea residential areas in Gweru.
“During the night they would proceed to the complainants’ places of residence, forced themselves into the houses, assaulting those who would have resisted and rob them of their property. The robbers were using the same modus operandi in all the 33 cases and the property stolen included cash, cellphones, televisions, motor vehicles which they used to carry the loot,” said Ms Madzudzu.
On March 15, the court heard that police allegedly received a tip off that Maidza was in possession of suspected stolen property at his place of residence.
“The police crack team reacted to the information leading to the arrest of Maidza who then voluntarily implicated his other accomplices, Mutizira, Mukwanda, Brandy, Javangwe and Zhou.
A further search was conducted at Maidza’s place of residence where a pair of handcuffs, a woolen black mask, an H- mobile cellphone were recovered,” said Ms Madzudzu.
Further searches were allegedly conducted at Javangwe and Mutizira place of residence.
“From Javangwe and Mutizira’s place of residences police recovered a stolen black Anker power bank and a traveling bag stolen from the accused people who managed to identify their belongings,” she said.
Ms Madzudzu said police recovered Mutizira’s Zimbabwe National Army identity card.
She said the value of the stolen property was $500 000 and some of it was recovered.
Police investigations are still ongoing as two of the robbers are still at large.