POLICE in Plumtree have launched a manhunt for three suspects who outpaced a team of investigating officers and disappeared into a thicket after stealing a vehicle with P6 000 in Botswana’s Francistown which they then left parked at an unsuspecting villager’s homestead saying it had run out of fuel.
The three have been identified as Kwanele Phuti, Prince Dube and Austin Gumbo. The car, a Toyota Hilux GD6, 2.4 litres single-cab vehicle was stolen from a spare parts shop in Francistown and found parked at a homestead in Mbambanyika Village in Mphoengs after having crossed into Zimbabwe through Ngwanyana area which is an illegal crossing point.
According to police details, on 31 October and around 6am information was received from Matsikoje Police Station in Botswana, that a Toyota Hilux GD6, 2.4 litres single-cab white in colour had been stolen from a vehicle spare parts shop in Francistown in Botswana and the tracker was indicating that the vehicle had crossed into Zimbabwe through Ngwanyana area, Madabe, Plumtree.
Information gathered by the police indicated that the vehicle had money amounting to P6 000, spare parts of another motor vehicle, small air compressor and three car batteries. A team comprising Zimbabwean police officers and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officers was then deployed at Mphoengs Border Post and was dispatched to make follow-ups along Mphoengs-Plumtree and with the help of four Botswana police officers.
The team tracked the vehicle to where it was parked at Eunice Moyo’s homestand in Mbambanyika, Mphoengs.
They found two men who worked at the homestead who they interrogated on who had brought the vehicle to the homestead.
The two revealed that the vehicle had been allegedly brought at the homestead at around 10am by Kwanele Phuti who was in the company of two other male adults. They also revealed to the team that Phuti had asked to leave the vehicle at the homestead as it had run out of fuel and promised to come and collect it once they got fuel.
Further investigations revealed that Phuti and the other two suspects identified as Dube and Gumbo had boarded a vehicle towards Mphoengs Border Post and a follow-up was made up to Mkgambo Business Centre.
The suspects are said to have bolted out of the vehicle they were travelling in when they realised that they were being pursued by police officers and fled into the bush where they outpaced the officers.