On the night of November the 6th armed robbers targeting homes of businesspeople struck again, this time a second hand car dealer was the target. This incident, which occurred in Tynwald—a suburb south of central Harare, Zimbabwe—is the latest of a worrisome trend of criminals raiding homes and holding family members hostage.
Apparently it had been a busy day for this businessman; he’d sold a total of three vehicles in one day, a no mean feat in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Now for a bit of perspective to a non-Zimbabwean reader, most car sale transactions are settled in cash, USD to be precise. Selling three vehicles at once means a lot of hard cash which has to be stashed somewhere safe but not the bank (more on this later)
After concluding the transactions, the unnamed businessman reportedly went home with money where he apparently keeps it secure. Unbeknown to the businessman however, someone had tipped off criminals about the sale and these planned on robbing him.
So as the car dealer made his way home that afternoon, he was trailed by a Ford Ranger twin cab which had South African registration plates. At that time nothing happened as the criminals were apparently conducting a reconnaissance mission to identify the car dealer’s residence and the set up of the immediate surroundings.
A little after 7 pm, the businessman headed home with the trailing robbers now ready to pounce. However, several eye witness accounts suggest the businessman was vigilant, he quickly realized he was being followed by the same vehicle that had trailed him in the afternoon. So instead of making a turn at his residence, he passed hoping the trailing vehicle would follow him.
On realizing that they had been made, the robbers sprung into action. They stopped following their target, two of them immediately disembarked from their vehicle, scaled the security wall and went into the residence while their driver waited ready to make the great get away.
Meanwhile, realizing that the robbers had seen through his counter plan, the businessman rushed back home only to find out that the robbers had pounced on his wife. According to one eye witness account, the robbers slapped the wife in the face demanding to know where the businessman had stashed the proceeds from that day. The businessman disembarked from his Toyota Landcruiser with intention of fighting and rescuing his wife but realized the men were armed.
Drama then unfolded—as the businessman who apparently moves around with a firearm—returned to his vehicle to retrieve this weapon. On realizing this, the robbers suddenly released the woman and began racing back to the get-away vehicle with the fearless businessman in hot pursuit with his SUV. The businessman rammed his luxurious vehicle into the stationary get away truck three times and when it became apparent the Ford Ranger could no longer move, the criminals disembarked and disappeared into the darkness.
The criminals fired shots to scare off members of the neighborhood who attempted to apprehend them but ultimately no one was hurt.
The above account typifies the risks that Zimbabwean businesspeople face and many are not as lucky as this gentleman and his family. His family was not hurt and he did not lose his money.
Businesspeople are faced with this increased risk of break-ins or carjacking because criminals are taking advantage of an unfortunate situation.