A cash-in-transit robbery in which nearly US$334, 000 was stolen on the Bulawayo-Harare highway was an inside job, police said on Saturday.
Fawcett Security Company guards claimed they had been robbed at a fake police roadblock between Connemara Open Prison and Hunter Road Shopping Centre on Thursday.
Police on Saturday said they were holding two Fawcett security guards and a woman who is the wife of one of the guards after the story turned out to be a lie.
“Police have now discovered that Fawcett security guard Bongani Mpofu, who is now in police custody, is the kingpin in this false and stage-managed robbery case,” a police statement said.
Police have also arrested another guard, Blessing Luwizhi, and his wife Josphine Ndlovu after she was allegedly found with US$18, 000 of the stolen cash.
Police now believe the two guards conspired with “notorious criminals” Sibusiso Ngwenya, Mandla Ncube, Nqobile Moyo, Khumbulani Nyathi and one “King” to rob their own workplace.
They gave a lift to two female hitch-hikers in Bulawayo and dropped them off in Gweru, where they picked up US$11,000 from their local branch there.
All the while, police believe some of the conspirators were driving behind the van in a Honda Fit.
Police say while it has been confirmed that there was a broken-down truck on the highway where the guards said they had been robbed by two “police officers” and four armed men, it had now been established from credible witnesses that their vehicle sped past that particular place.
“On arrival at the 243km peg on the Harare-Bulawayo highway near Zvakanaka shops between Connemara Prison and Hunter Road Shopping Centre, the Fawcett guards and the criminals picked from Bulawayo stage-managed the false robbery scene and circumstances,” police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said.
“The criminals’ Honda Fit which was following behind was then used as a get-away car after loading boxes which had been opened using a bolt cutter and also taking away the company pistols.”
Police say one of the suspects, Ncube, later delivered US$18,000 to Luwizhi’s wife in Bulawayo – allegedly his loot from the crime. The money has been recovered.
In all, police say the Fawcett vehicle had been carrying US$334,290.
Police have urged security companies to “seriously vet their employees put measures in place to curtail theft of clients’ money by staff using devious means.”