Four men, three of them disguised as traffic police officers, yesterday robbed a security company vehicle ferrying a reported US$400 000 destined for the Eastern Highlands Plantations near Selbourne.
The money said to belong to Border Timbers was meant for salaries, The Standard was told last night.
The robbers are understood to have rammed a haulage truck into a Fawcett armoured security vehicle resulting in a head-on collision.
Sources said that in the ensuing commotion, the security guards were approached by three men disguised as traffic officers, who after enquiring about their wellbeing, went on to disarm them.
The disarmed guards were then forced to open the back of the truck where the money was secured at gun point. The robbers then loaded the loot into a getaway vehicle before speeding off together with the truck driver.
It is understood that the money was meant to pay plantation workers their salaries.
Police Spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was not aware of the incident.
“I have not yet heard about it, I will find out,” she said.
At the time of going to print, it was not yet established who the owner of the truck was or how the robbers had obtained information about the amount of money the vehicle in transit was carrying.
Officer Commanding Manicaland Police (Operations) Assistant Commissioner David Mahoya declined to comment on the issue.
Sources said the “accident” and subsequent robbery were strongly believed to have been well-planned and stage-managed.
Radar Holdings group chief executive Elias Hwenga expressed ignorance over the matter last night.
“Let me enquire, call me back in 30 minutes,” he said.
Radar is the parent company of Border Timbers.
There has been a spate of robberies in the country involving huge sums of money. In May this year, armed robbers raided Waverly Blankets in Harare and got away with US$412 000 cash.
In the incident, seven individuals conspired after noting slackness in security at Waverly Blankets during transportation of cash to the bank.
After the plan was hatched, the robbers then waylaid Waverly Blankets officials and robbed them of US$412 798. The suspects were eventually arrested and US$25 300 was recovered.
In yet another incident in July this year, two armed robbers allegedly raided an Agribank branch at Chivi Growth Point in Masvingo and got away with US$83 000 cash.
They then locked the workers in a strong room before getting away with the cash.