WATCH: Burglars pocket US$80,000 at Lobels factory

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ONE of the country’s leading confectionery companies, Lobels Biscuits and Sweets, has lost more than $80,000 after burglars broke into its premises in Bulawayo’s Belmont Industrial Estate on Sunday night.

Police say the suspects also fled with R16,739, P950, $110,266 in local currency and a laptop worth US$400.

However, the company said no other gadgets were stolen.

Bulawayo Police spokesman Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident, saying investigations were ongoing.

“Unknown suspects broke into the offices of the Lobels Biscuits company in Belmont and went to the accounts office where they broke into a safe and stole cash in the amount of US$79,819, R16 739 950, P950, ZW$110,266 and HP 250GB laptop worth US$400. ,” he said.

“No arrests have been made and we are still investigating the matter.”

Inspector Ncube urged businesses to refrain from keeping large sums of cash on their premises.

“As police, we continue to urge people who operate businesses to use banking services in light of the increase in cases of illegal entry to premises and theft,” Insp Ncube said.

Chief Operating Officer of Lobels Biscuits and Sweets, Mr Andrew Dinhidza, said the money, which was stolen, was late payment from customers and was believed to have been deposited at the bank Monday.

“Just before kick-off on Friday, we had customers who came to pay. We don’t work on weekends and the intention was to deposit this money on Monday with our banks,” he said.

“When we started, everything was in order. The burglars went to the roof and cut it but couldn’t get to it because it’s made of slabs, so they couldn’t get to it.

Mr Dinhidza said the burglars then resorted to opening a window that leads to a hallway and gained access to the building.

“They went to offices where we keep the money in a vault and used grinders to open the safe and took US$79,000 and R16,000.

They then ransacked offices looking for money and they left brand new laptops,” he said.

Mr Dinhidza said guards discovered the break-in the next morning as they were transferring them.

“Our security agents discovered that the main door had been tampered with. The matter has been reported to the police who are now dealing with it,” he said.

Cases of illegal entry, theft and burglary are increasing in Bulawayo.

Last month, armed robbers raided the Revelation Church of God in Bulawayo, beating a pastor and two other congregants, before fleeing with construction funds: 20,000 rand, 300 dollars and 10,000 dollars in local currency.

The five thieves, reportedly armed with axes, bolt cutters and a metal rod, struck in the middle of the night.

The thieves apparently knew that the church had collected money for a building fund and while they were robbing the pastor, they demanded money from him.

Recently, the Roman Catholic Church’s St Andrew’s Parish in Kingsdale, Bulawayo, was forced to suspend services after thieves stole holy vessels used to celebrate Mass.

Last year in August, six armed robbers were involved in a shootout with police in Bulawayo after they raided the Choppies Parklands supermarket and Access Finance in the city, fleeing with nearly $300,000 and R1million .

The six-armed robbers: Arnold Mpofu alias Tsano (39) and Thamsanqa Mpofu, who were killed at 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 in a shootout with police who caught them in an attempted robbery at a home in suburban Fourwinds.

The armed robbers were from South Africa, which was their hideout after committing crimes in the city.–@mashnets

Comments are closed.