TEN armed robbers terrorised staff and security at Lomagundi College on Tuesday night, blew up an empty cash safe before stealing a pistol, laptops, cellphones and a Mazda Tribute vehicle.
The gang stole an undisclosed amount of money from the principal’s office.
But, their main target, which was to take a huge loot from the school after gambling it would have thousands of dollars in fees and levies at the premises, did not reap the expected yield.
The school’s authorities had kept most of the money, collected from levies and fees, at the bank.
They ambushed the school’s deputy head (Tendai Masombo), as he returned to the college, while they overpowered the five security guards who were on duty on the night.
The robbery was timed to coincide with the first day of the new term, with the robbers gambling that the elite school would be awash with cash.
The raid came three days after a group of armed robbers pounced at George Silundika High School in Nyamandlovu and got away with US$17 280, which was in the cash box.
“As the schools open, parents and guardians are in the process of paying school fees, levies and other related school costs, for their children,” said police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
“School authorities are, therefore, urged to deposit all monies at financial institutes to curb armed robbery cases.
“The issue of collecting cash by school authorities at schools should be reconsidered in view of the recent armed robbery cases.
“The police have recorded armed robbery cases in Bulawayo and Chinhoyi in which schools are being targeted.
“In one of the cases, armed robbers pounced at George Silundika High School in Nyamandlovu on Saturday and got away with US$17 280 which was in the cash box.”
“School authorities are urged to step up security measures at schools and employ guards from reputable security service providers who constantly monitor and review deployments.
“Above all, school authorities should install CCTV at points of entry and administration offices.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is concerned that some of these robbery cases are resulting from leakage of information.
“People are warned that those who provide inside information to robbery syndicates will be arrested.
“Police crack teams are firmly on the ground and will pounce on armed robbery syndicates for the law to take its course in earnest.”
In a letter to parents and guardians, Lomagundi College board chairperson, Ntando Sibanda, assured them that all staff and children were accounted for and were safe.
“They broke the alarm system and all the office doors, the robbers broke all the fixed and movable safes.
“The administration block has been sealed off temporarily to allow the police to carry out their investigations.
“While I acknowledge that this is a stressful update to parents, I would like to assure all that everyone is safe and our school programmes will proceed as normal for all our children.
“We will be making all possible efforts to beef up on our security at school as much as possible.”