Jeremiah Mudonha Suburban Correspondent
POLICE in Harare are receiving reports of an average of three car thefts being stolen per day in the capital city as motorists lose vehicles to criminals they are offering lifts.
Amid growing concerns over the unprecedented spike in vehicle thefts not only in Zimbabwe but the world over, police in Harare have called on motorists to be always alert and extra cautious especially on who they pick as passengers in their private vehicles because most of them are criminals pretending to be commuters looking for transport.
Inspector Julius Chakanza, the Harare Provincial Police Spokesperson, told Suburban that on average, Harare receives three vehicle theft cases per day, the majority being drivers robbed of their vehicles by people whom they would have offered lifts.
Some motorists, however, argue that picking a passenger or two along their way home or to workplaces helps them in raising money for fuel and covering other pressing domestic commitments.
But it is this practice that has often plunged motorists into endless regrets.
In one of the most recent disturbing carjacking incidents, a Mabelreign man lost his Honda CRV car in a dramatic fashion to people he had allegedly offered transport on his way home from the Willowvale industrial area.
The man, Collen Muchena (38) said he unsuspectingly picked the five transport-seekers who appeared desperate given the nightfall at Afgate in the Willowvale industrial area and three of them dropped off at Warren Park 1 leaving behind two males who later committed the crime.
At the intersection of Harare Drive and Solomon Mujuru (formerly Kirkman Road), one of the two suspects told the driver to stop since he had reached his destination and he complied.
But as he pulled off the road, the suspect seated behind him allegedly grabbed his neck and forcefully pulled him to the back seat as the other suspect at the front passenger seat assumed full control of the car.
Upon turning into Lorraine Drive, Muchena was pushed out of the vehicle as the criminals sped off with his car.
Also stolen with the car were the complainant’s wallet containing cash US$250 and a Xaomi mobile phone.
Police confirmed the incident and urged motorists to be wary of picking people they do not know.
“We are investigating the report of robbery of a motor vehicle which occurred on the 23rd of July 2022 at around 20.00 hours in which complainant, one Collen Muchena was robbed of his maroon Honda CRV registration number AEV 1151 by two male adults whom he had given a lift.
“Information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects and or recovery of the stolen motor vehicle is much appreciated.
“Meanwhile, we urge motorists to avoid picking people whom they do not know with their private vehicles,” said Insp Chakanza.