Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ONE of the country’s leading confectionery firms, Lobels Biscuits and Sweets lost over US$80 000 after burglars broke into its premises in Bulawayo’s Belmont industrial area on Sunday night.
According to police, the suspects also made off with R16 739, P950, $110 266 in local currency and a laptop worth US$400.
The company, however, indicated that no other gadgets were stolen.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident, saying investigations were underway.
“Unknown suspects broke into the Lobels Biscuits company offices in Belmont and proceeded to the accounts office where they broke a safe and stole cash amounting to US$79 819, R16 739 950, P950, ZW$110 266 and a HP 250GB laptop valued at US$400,” he said.
“No arrests have been made and we are still investigating the matter.”
Insp Ncube urged business to desist from keeping large sums of money on their premises.
“As police we continue to urge people who operate businesses to utilise banking facilities in light of an increase in cases of unlawful entry into premises and theft,” said Insp Ncube.
Lobels Biscuits and Sweets chief operating officer Mr Andrew Dinhidza said the money, which was stolen, was late payment by clients and was supposed to have been taken to the bank on Monday.
“Just before knocking off on Friday, we had customers coming to pay. We don’t work on weekends and the intention was to deposit that money on Monday with our banks,” he said.
“When we knocked off everything was in order. The burglars went to the roof and cut it but could not get access because it is made of slab hence, they could not gain access.”
Mr Dinhidza said the burglars then resorted to opening a window that leads into a corridor and gained access to the building.
“They went into offices where we keep the money in a strong room and used grinders to open the safe and took US$79 000 and R16 000.
They then ransacked offices looking for money and there were brand new laptops that they left,” he said.
Mr Dinhidza said the guards discovered the break-in the following morning when they were doing their handover- takeover.
“Our security guards discovered that the main door was tampered with. The matter was reported to the police who are now handling it,” he said.
Cases of unlawful entry, theft and robbery are on the increase in Bulawayo.
Last month, armed robbers struck at Revelation Church of God in Bulawayo, beating up a pastor and two other congregants, before getting away with building funds: R20 000, US$300 and $10 000 in local currency.
The five robbers, who were allegedly armed with axes, bolt cutters and a metal rod, struck in the dead of the night.
The robbers reportedly knew that the church had collected money for a building fund and while they were robbing the pastor, they were demanding the money from them.
Recently, the Roman Catholic Church’s St Andrew’s Parish in Kingsdale, Bulawayo, was forced to suspend services after thieves stole sacred vessels used to conduct mass.
Last year in August, six armed robbers were involved in a shootout with police in Bulawayo after they raided Choppies Parklands Supermarket and Access Finance in the city, getting away with nearly US$300 000 and R1 million.
The six-armed robbers: Arnold Mpofu alias Tsano (39) and Thamsanqa Mpofu, who were killed on the scene, while Nomore Hove (39), Nkosilathi Ncube (42) were injured. Brian Nkomo (31) and Mthokozisi Moyo (37) make up the rest of those arrested.
The suspected armed robbers were killed during a shootout with police who had cornered them during an attempted robbery at a house in Fourwinds suburb.
The armed robbers came from South Africa, which was their hideout after committing crimes in the city.–@mashnets
Article Source: The Chronicle