TWO bogus policemen allegedly driving around Harare in their getaway car and stealing thousands of US dollars after accusing motorists of having violated traffic rules, have now been arrested, while police continue hunting for three accomplices, including a woman.

The arrested two are a former police officers, Kabinara Frazer Chengetai (38) of Unit O Seke in Chitungwiza, who was discharged from the police service on November 19, 2009 for being unsuitable for duty, and Shelton Chingwecha (33) of New Zengeza 5 in Chitungwiza.

The two are alleged to have stolen cash ranging between US$10 and US$2 224 from more than seven motorists after accusing them of driving while using cellphones, interfering with Government officials' motorcades, dangerous parking and negligently driving in security areas, among other "serious offences".

They would travel around with one wearing a police uniform and using fake police identification cards.

Their arrest follows an upsurge in cases of people impersonating police officers and robberies with these criminals targeting motorists travelling in and around central Harare since April this year.

Investigations revealed that the two would allegedly travel in a Nissan Tiida vehicle (AEA 9922), with one of them wearing a police uniform while the other one would produce fake police identity cards before forcibly taking money from the seven who they later dumped.

Chengetai and Chingwecha were arrested last Friday in central Harare after police laid an ambush for them in areas the two used to frequent to target motorists.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the arrests and said investigations were in progress.

He warned bogus cops targeting people that the law will soon catch up with them.

Investigations carried out so far have revealed that on June 3, at around midday, a victim who was driving his Toyota Hilux along Glenara Avenue South heading towards Hatfield had his vehicle blocked by the two suspects using their  getaway car.

One of them was wearing a police uniform and they identified themselves as police officers and produced police identity cards before they informed the victim that he was under arrest for driving while using a cellphone and that he had interfered with an "army general's motorcade" during the process.

They handcuffed the victim before one of them drove his vehicle and during the process they stole US$1 955 before dumping him behind OK Mart along Chiremba Road in Hillside.

On June 6, again around midday, the two approached another victim who was seated in his Nissan March near Coca Cola bus stop and waiting for a relative.

Using the same method of operation, they confronted the victim, accusing him of dangerous parking and that they wanted to escort him to ZRP Braeside.

Along the way, the suspects searched the complainant and forcibly took US$500 before dumping him along Joshua Nkomo Road.

Police said that a couple of months earlier, on April 13, at around 10.20am, another complainant who was driving his Toyota Corolla along Samora Machel Avenue had his car blocked by the suspects who accused him of driving against a one way route at State House while on mobile phone and immediately handcuffed her.

They stole US$360, R300 from her.

In the latest robbery and theft, on August 6 at around 11.30am, the two suspects together with their female accomplice who is still at large approached another complainant who was parking his Nissan NP300 truck just opposite Parliament Building before accusing him of parking at the Parliament House.

They managed to get away with US$2 224.

The day before, around midday along Mazowe Street in Harare, Chengetai, Chingwecha together with their female accomplice approached a motorist driving his Toyota Harrier along Samora Machel Avenue and blocked him again.

They accused the motorist of failure to observe a red robot before they got into his vehicle. The trio stole US$2 070.

On the seventh, count which occurred on July 7, at around 9am, a complainant who was driving his motor vehicle for work at Sorting House along Joshua Nkomo Road was stopped Chengetai, Chingwecha and two other unknown accomplices who accused him of driving through a red robot at the intersection of Robert Mugabe Road and Julius Nyerere Way.

They also stole US$10 and $2 900 before driving off in their getaway car.

Source - The Herald