The News day newspaper of Zimbabwe reports that Patrick Kapenda (24) was driving a South African-registered haulage truck carrying 150 drums of petroleum jelly weighing 150 kilogrammes each and headed for Zambia.
Officer commanding Lupane police Chief Superintendent Johannes Gowo confirmed the arrest of Kapenda at the scene of the alleged crime, after police discovered that the robbery was a hoax.
Gowo said Kapenda, who was driving a Zambia-bound South African-registered haulage truck, had reported that he was robbed of his merchandise at the 125-kilometre peg in Mbembesi along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road on Wednesday morning.
The truck was carrying 150 drums of petroleum jelly.
“He reported a movie-style robbery where a small vehicle suddenly stopped in front of his haulage truck before the robbers, armed with guns, got out and took away his cellular phone, money and eight drums containing the petroleum jelly,” he said.
“He was taken to the scene of the alleged incident because he was claiming that his truck was brought to an immediate stop during the robbery, which is impossible for a heavy-duty truck to do.
“On the scene it was established that there were no missing drums and the Nokia E90 cell phone he also claimed to have been stolen was there. The money was also found in his possession.”
Police in Matabeleland North have of late reported a number of false reports, especially from foreign nationals. It is alleged after making the false theft reports and obtaining a police report to that effect, the cross-border drivers would then sell the purportedly stolen goods when they got to their destination and pocket the proceeds.
“We have received quite a number of false reports, especially from Zambian drivers carrying goods for their respective companies.
They claim the goods were stolen then look for a police report to back their claims so that they can convert the goods to their use,” said Gowo.
“They tend to underestimate the police in Zimbabwe but let them be warned that we are very efficient.
“We will not tolerate anyone making false reports for their own selfish gains at the expense of our country’s image.
“Victoria Falls is one of the country’s major tourist attractions and we will not allow these criminals to give a wrong message that the country is haunted by armed robbers,” Gowo said.