Every “Armed Robbers Strike” headline is almost always immediately followed by another “Armed Robbers Caught” headline in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean police need a pat on the shoulder for their magnificent work. Or do they?
If you consider the situation a little more, you will find that the police do not really need to be at their best to catch these misfits. No. These armed robbers simply hand themselves in. I don’t mean it literally, but it’s so close to literal it’s appalling.
No, I am not on their side, but they are Zimbabwean armed robbers. In whatever capacity, they kind of have that ZIMBABWEAN label on them. Watch crime series in the US and learn about the methods that the armed robbers there use (let us only refer to the ones that do not actually harm anybody). I once watched an episode about a guy who at some point had robbed nearly 20 banks! And how was he caught? He robbed a bank that had tracking devices hidden in some of the cash he stole. (And this after he had evaded something worse - he had previously stolen a bunch of cash that exploded on him and sent flares all over).
Now compare: how were a bunch of armed robbers recently caught in Zimbabwe? Well, three of them robbed an “Agribank” and I think they made off with about $80,000 in cash – well, made off temporarily. One of the robbers (incidentally the one who was carrying the only gun that had been used in the heist), was caught an hour or so later. He was found counting the bills under a bridge, not too far away from the bank he had just robbed. As the story usually pans out, he led the police to his two friends. This, my friends, does not belong to a crime series TV show. It belongs to a Funny Videos kind of show.
I am not kidding you. Four other robbers – in Bulawayo this time – decided to rob a Baker’s Inn. The (Zimbabwean robber) logic here is that, when you want to get a lot of money from an armed robbery, you have to hit a bakery.. Hit a bakery big time!This is how it went…(I know how it went because one of the robbers probably narrated the whole story after getting caught).
They went to a bakery at night. Lo and behold, the place was locked! What were they to do about this unforeseen obstacle? Believe it – they were witty enough to scale the wall and jump onto the roof, break through the roof and land into an office – a bakery office full of cash. In a few – eh several- minutes they had hurled in a whopping $1! That is before they got startled by some noises coming from within the building. They all quickly hid under the tables – even the guy with the gun.
When that little scare passed, they made a run for it – up through the roof. There was honour among this bunch though, because they helped each other up through the roof. Except there’s the one guy who remained behind because nobody could help him up through the roof. His three friends had already gone. He was therefore left behind – just like that. He was the first one to get caught, and again he was the one who had the gun (it’s always the one with the gun!)
By now, you should be asking: what is up with Zimbabwean robbers!?
I don’t know! It must be poor planning or something. Think about it, poor planning runs in the blood of many in our population. What then do we expect from the robbers in our number? It makes sense: they cannot even plan an intricate enough robbery for the police to get some excitement. Imagine this for a report: “Ah, Chef, we just found him here outside the bank counting the money. We’ll bring him in now, but we’ll buy some soft drinks on our way.”
The situation is really not too bad, because we do get to have these robbers off our streets, and we also do get a laugh out of it in the process. Regardless, it still bugs me! Imagine all those international onlookers reading about our armed robbers. They must think we’re all idiots because we can’t even plan a decent armed robbery.
To save face, perhaps we should include the occasional great-ending robbery stories next to the funny ones. I think those ones would better showcase the actual effectiveness of our police force when it comes to dealing with these kinds of issues. For starters, I have heard about one where the police used a local phone network provider to track down an armed robber. Now that is more like it!
Zimbabwe Republic Police, keep it up with the apprehension of armed robbers. Armed robbers, just stop.