ONE of the suspected armed robbers who exchanged gun fire with police in Bulawayo on Saturday was found hiding in a deep freezer while trying to evade arrest.
Residents at Four Winds suburb told Sunday News that they woke up to gunshots in the area that lasted for almost an hour. A resident who witnessed one of the gun-totting robbers stumble and fall when he was shot in her yard, said residents watched in shock as the fleeing gunman shot at his pursuers until he ran out of ammunition.
“On Friday night, we had been told in the residents’ WhatsApp group by local police that there are suspicious cars moving about so we were on high alert. At about 6am we started hearing gunshots and the battle seemed to last for a long time. Later on, my dogs started barking and I could tell that there was suspicious movement so I went to peep outside. I was shocked to see a man with a gun right next to our house,” the resident said.
The resident said she watched in horror as the robber exchanged fire with his pursuers.
“He kept on firing until he ran out of bullets. Even when they had shot him, you could see gunfire in the air as he fired upwards. He was very stubborn and even when they had apprehended him, he kept resisting. By this time the whole neighbourhood was up and we went to the house where the robbery was to take place, the guys that were arrested kept saying that they had come from South Africa,” he said.
Another resident said one of the suspected robbers had been arrested in a neighbour’s house as he hid in a deep freezer.
“My neighbour is reconstructing his kitchen so the kitchen has been partly demolished. So, the robber went through there and then hid in the fridge. That is where they found him,” the resident said.
Bulawayo has been hit by a spate of robberies recently, with police revealing that armed men had taken cash and valuables worth nearly $55 million in 32 robberies between March and June.
One suspected armed robbers was killed on the scene, with two others injured while trying to flee when a gang of six armed men believed to have travelled all the way from South Africa were involved in a dramatic early morning shoot-out with members of the police during a heist gone wrong at Four Winds suburb in Bulawayo.
When Sunday News visited the scene of the incident, blood that had been spilt during the violent encounter was still splattered around the yard of the house in the suburb. Police had reportedly impounded two cars from the robbers, a Golf GTI and a Mark T, both with Zimbabwean number plates.
The owner of the house, who spoke to Sunday News anonymously, said the heist was foiled largely due to the work of law enforcement officers, who had warned that they had received intelligence that the house was a potential robbery target. It is believed that the owner of the house is into mining businesses.
“I cannot say much right now until the police have spoken but all I can say is that one of the robbers was killed here. All in all, there were six of them. They got in here at around 6am. We knew something like this might happen because we received intelligence that we could be hit by armed robbers soon and it happened just as they said,” he said.
Police, on their official twitter account confirmed the incident.
“The ZRP confirms that one armed robber has been shot dead and two injured when six armed robbers who came all the way from South Africa pounced on a house along Franklin Drive, Four Winds, Bulawayo. Four firearms have been recovered at the scene,” police said.
The gang was been identified as behind a number of armed robbery cases in the city, that include a cash in transit heist at Choppies Supermarket in Parklands, and a robbery of a bureau de-change in the city centre.
— Sunday News