TWO youths from Bulawayo allegedly stole a US$20 000 wristwatch from a house in Montrose suburb and sold it for $30 (about US50 cents on the streets).
The watch was part of the $1,5 million loot the duo allegedly stole during a four-month house-breaking spree in the eastern suburbs.
Cuthbert Munyandi (18) from Nketa suburb and Joseph Gamuchirai Nyasha (20) from Sizinda suburb allegedly prowled around suburbs that include Morningside, Hillside and Fourwinds between February and May this year, targeting electronic gadgets.
They were arrested on Tuesday after allegedly selling some of the stolen property for a song.
Munyandi and Nyasha allegedly conducted daylight burglary, mostly between 8AM and 5PM when home owners were away.
The two are facing seven counts of unlawful entry and theft.
In one of the raids, they got away with a Cartier wristwatch worth US$20 000
The luxury wristwatch range costs between US$3 000 and US$30 000 on sale on an online catalogue, where prices are down by up to 40 percent.
Police recovered the watch when the suspects led them on indications to people they had sold property to. The buyer from Sizinda suburb, was apparently also unaware of the true value of the watch.
Some of the stolen property includes bicycles, a gold ring, television sets, laptops, cellphones, car batteries, computers and professional cameras.
The police have placed the value of the stolen property at approximately $1,5 million, although the street value of the watch alone is above $1 million.
Detectives recovered items valued at $900 000 following the duo’s arrest.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube yesterday said the duo would monitor houses and strike once the owners left.
“Unlike most of the house break-in incidents that we are used to, the two suspects who are friends were raiding homes during the day. They would monitor houses and once occupants leave, they would break into the homes and steal mostly electric gadgets. Of interest, in one of the raids in Montrose suburb they got away with a Cartier wristwatch worth US$20 000 and sold it for $30 on the streets,” said Insp Ncube.
He said most of the stolen property was being sold in Western suburbs for a song.
Insp Ncube warned criminals that cops are in full force and will deal with them.
He warned those with a penchant for buying second hand goods to desist from doing so as it often leads to them buying stolen property.
“Most of the recovered property had already been sold to residents in Western suburbs of Nketa and Sizinda where the duo lived. As police, we want to warn residents to avoid buying second hand property especially from dubious characters who cannot even offer a receipt for the property they would be selling. Those who continue to buy stolen property risk being arrested as accomplices to the theft crimes. It is not an excuse for the public to claim that they did not know that the property was stolen,” he said.
Insp Ncube said those who lost property during the said period should visit the Criminal Investigations Department at Hillside Police Station for possible identification of their goods.
He said the pair’s arrest is a result of a good working relationship between the police and members of the public.