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Cases of armed robberies have increased by at least 40 percent countrywide from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.

Police have attributed the increase to businesspeople keeping large sums of cash within company premises and residential homes.

The robbers pounce on their victims using guns, machetes and knives and steal cash, phones, laptops and other valuables. In some cases they assault their victims before they flee.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba last Friday expressed concern with the increase in the number of armed robbery cases countrywide, which have seen people losing property worth thousands of dollars.

“We recorded 316 cases of armed robbery between January and May 2014, as compared to 230 cases received during the same period in 2013. These statistics indicate that robbery cases increased by 37 percent,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said some of the incidents included a robbery at a company in Harare which occurred on June 25, where five armed robbers manhandled a guard, disarmed him and stole US$3 000 that was in a safe.

They also stole mobile phones and other valuables belonging to four other employees who were within the premises.

In a similar incident the next day, five other armed robbers attacked Hawton Elution Plant in Kadoma where they made away with 25 litres of Sulphuric Acid, 50kg of gold carbon and cellphones all valued at US$11 385.

She said four robbers also hit a company in Norton and almost got away with US$26 000 but were arrested as they tried to escape. The cash, meant for salaries, was recovered.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba appealed to the public not to keep large sums of money in offices and at home.

“It is not safe to keep your money at home or in offices. We encourage the public to bank their cash,” she said, adding that businesspeople should also engage reputable security firms whenever they wanted to transport large sums of money.

Source : The Herald