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A POLICE officer said to be part of an elite arm of the force has been arrested for an armed robbery that occurred at a Total Service Station in Bulawayo last month.
Detectives arrested Amos Hlori (39) a Sergeant in the crack Police Special Tactics (PST) unit stationed at Fairbridge Police Camp yesterday.
He has been implicated as the lone AK47-rifle wielding robber who hit the service station on February 8 and got away with $154 and a cellphone.
Sources close to the case said Hlori was tracked through the cellphone.
“He was based at Plumtree when he committed the robbery. A tracker on the cellphone sold him out. He had travelled from Plumtree specifically to commit the robbery at 3AM, using his service rifle. He returned to his post after accomplishing his mission,” said the source.
Hlori was allegedly captured on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) as he committed the robbery.
Detectives allegedly recovered the hooded jacket that he wore on the day, at his home.
Faced with overwhelming evidence, the source said, Hlori confessed.
“He admitted everything and is cooperating with detectives in investigations. He may appear in court tomorrow (today),” said the source.
Mr Munyaradzi Mujajati (35), a petrol attendant who was on duty when Hlori allegedly struck, told The Chronicle he came in leg irons for indications yesterday.
The service station’s manager Mr Amos Nhapi (29) said he was happy the armed robber had been arrested.
“Police were every efficient. I’m pleased the culprit has been arrested. They came for indications in the afternoon. Munyaradzi even identified the suspect in a parade,” said Mr Nhapi.
On February 8, Hlori allegedly demanded cash from Mr Mujajati at gun point.
On seeing the rifle, the attendant fled into the manager’s office and locked himself inside.
The suspect, who wore a sweater with a hood that covered his face, ordered him to open the door.
When Mr Mujajati failed to comply, the gunslinger fired a shot through a glass door and the bullet ricocheted off a wall.
Mr Mujajati is said to have pressed the panic button that alerted a Fawcett security team.
As the gunman pointed at the attendant with the rifle, seemingly about to take another shot, Mr Mujajati opened the glass door.
“The robber ordered the attendant to hand over his cellphone and cash. After receiving $154 and cell phone, the robber stepped out, removed his hood and disappeared into the dark. The robbery was captured on CCTV,” said Mr Nhapi then.
Minutes after the alert, the Fawcett team arrived at the station to find the gunman gone.
They called the police who allegedly recovered a spent cartridge and the bullet’s copper jacket at the scene.
National Police Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi could not be reached for comment as his mobile phones rang without being answered.
On February 22, police arrested a traffic cop who is suspected to be part of a gang of armed robbers that raided West Service Station in Lupane and was allegedly involved in a shootout with detectives in Bulawayo.
Sergeant Alfred Zvapera (31) of Senga 2 suburb in Gweru allegedly surrendered himself at Nkulumane Police Station a day after the heist.
He allegedly claimed three armed men kidnapped him and his girlfriend in Gokwe and forced them to drive around while the trio committed armed robberies.
Police have declared zero tolerance for corruption within the force.
In January, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri was quoted saying; “We’ve dismissed some officers for engaging in corruption and there are no sacred cows. Anyone caught will be dismissed from the service.” Temba Dube chronicle