A fraudster has been arrested after he swiped for groceries worth more than $398 000 at OK Supermarket in Hwange using a bank card that had been tampered with.
The man, Brian Pedzisa of Chitungwiza, was arrested on Thursday and is suspected to be among a gang of people who have been using cloned cards and other bank card related tactics to con various retail shops across the country.
Detectives on Thursday pounced on Pedzisa at the supermarket, moments after he was about to get out after swiping for groceries worth $396 384.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda confirmed the incident and said police were now looking for two other people linked to the scam.
“On 10 June 2021 a gang of three fraudsters tried to defraud OK Hwange Supermarket of groceries worth $396 384.
One of the fraudsters successfully used an electronic Visa card to make purchases but before he could make off he was arrested by a team of watchful detectives who were working on a tip-off. Upon being interviewed the suspect revealed that he was working with two other accomplices who are still at large,” said Insp Banda.
He said the gang had used the same strategy to defraud OK Mart Victoria Falls of an undisclosed amount in groceries. He appealed to members of the public to assist with information leading to their arrest.
“The two accomplices are on the run anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of these two criminals can report at the nearest police station,” said Insp Banda.
He called on shop owners to enhance security to avoid such incidents which were on the rise in the country.
“As police we would like to implore shop owners to enhance security at their premises through use of alarm systems and Closed Circuit Television. Retailers should examine electronic cards and do necessary verifications before processing of electronic transactions. For the record some fraudsters misrepresent themselves as humanitarian workers.”
According to sources privy to the incident, the gang would approach the supermarkets seeking a quotation for groceries pretending that the transaction wanted would be effected from a nostro account. Later one of the gang members would return to make purchases using a Visa card whose microchip would have been tampered with. Sunday News
IIN OTHER NEWS:New Lockdown Measures:Business Hours Slashed, Gatherings Banned
GOVERNMENT has decreed a slash in local business hours, working personnel per building and further banned public gatherings in its latest bid to tame a renewed surge in Covid-19 cases.
Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga Saturday said cases have been on the rise past few days.
He attributed the increase to general complacency among locals in adhering to measures both in the communities and workplaces.
In the last seven days, 596 new cases and 26 deaths were recorded, compared to the same period in May 2021 where 132 new cases and 6 deaths were recorded.
“This is a more than 4-fold increase in new cases and deaths,” Chiwenga told journalists Saturday evening.
Chiwenga said retail businesses and shops’ operating hours shall be from 0800 hours to 1800 hours every day with operators expected to ensure “strict adherence to preventive measures such as proper wearing of face masks, sanitizing and temperature checks of clients.”
“They should also ensure that they limit the number of clients in their shops to maintain physical distancing.
“Beer halls and night clubs will remain closed whilst bottle stores will operate from 1000 hours – 1600 hours.
“Operators should ensure that there is no drinking in and around their premises. Failure to adhere to these measures will result in withdrawal of business licenses.
“Hotel and lodge bars and restaurants are open to their residents up to 2200 hours. All other restaurants and fast foods outlets will serve takeaways only.”
Chiwenga added, “With regards to people’s marketplaces such as but not limited to Mbare, Renkin, Mupedzanhamo, Sakubva, Machipisa and others, they shall close at 1800 hours.”
The VP further said, “at all ports of entry there shall be strict enforcement of the 48 hour old PCR negative certificate requirement and mandatory testing of all travellers from hot spots at their expense regardless of their negative PCR certificates”.
“There shall be quarantining of those coming from hot spots in designated quarantine centres at their own expense.
“Those who present with fake Covid 19 negative certificates shall be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.