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Crime & Punishment of Monday, 18 June 2018


Robbers snatch Mobile Money box in daylight at Bolgatanga

File photo: A man standing at a Mobile Money vending point File photo: A man standing at a Mobile Money vending point

Two men on a motorbike have launched a daylight robbery raid on a mobile money outlet in Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital, and made off with a box containing cash and call credit cards.

The thieves emerged from nowhere around midday last Friday and bolted after grabbing the transparent container in a ballot-box-snatching style.

The shopkeeper gave the robbers a hot chase in vain. She returned to the shop not only empty-handed but also bleeding from one leg whilst limping on the other. A piece of broken glass had pierced through her left foot as she went after the thieves.

Minutes later, police arrived to a stunned-looking crowd in front of the shop, located along the Bolgatanga-Navrongo Highway, not too far from the Upper East Regional Library Junction.

“I received a call from my sales officer about the attack. The first place I rushed to the MTN office to block the SIM card. Then, I went to the police station where my sales officer filed a statement as a complainant. Some police officers later visited the shop and are investigating to see how the cash and the credit cards we’ve lost can be retrieved,” said the owner of the shop, who does not want his name mentioned for now.

A familiar spot for daylight robbery

This is the second time in 12 months thieves have taken the cluster of business centres around that junction by storm in daytime.

In 2017, some men walked gently into a boutique within the area and were well received by a saleswoman at the shop. As they moved from one corner to another, thoroughly inspecting the items and asking how much they cost, the sales agent reverently followed them round, politely answering every question.

Whilst she was smiling, filled with the hope of making good sales, the men suddenly grabbed hold of her, strapped her mouth with a heavy piece of cloth, tied her hands together behind her and laid her on the floor of the shop. It was when the men began to fetch the stuffs in the boutique in a hurry into a bag she realised they had not come for shopping but for shoplifting.

Luck was, however, not on the raiders’ side. A young man from a nearby mechanic shop became suspicious when he saw strange faces collecting items inside the shop but did not see the familiar saleswoman. He mobilised a mob who untied the victim and dealt the thieves a heavy dose of hammering before handing them over to the police.

Cash Rewards for Police Informants

Mobile money operators and call credit card vendors have remained a target of armed robbery attacks in the region in recent times.

A young man was shot dead on his way home at night in Bawku in 2015 by an unidentified gang. A bag containing an amount of money he had made from sales of call credit cards was taken from him.

A similar attack in Bolgatanga saw a mobile money operator shot in the head in 2017 at Yikene. In the same year, a girl who was engaged in the sales of call credit cards as she was awaiting her Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results, was shot in the leg after some bandits made an unsuccessful search on her for money on her way home at Zaare, a suburb of Bolgatanga.

Speaking to Starr News on the latest incident, the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Samuel Punobyin, stressed the need for residents to draw police attention as soon as they noticed any suspicious move around them. Whilst assuring the public their identities would be protected if they volunteered information on criminals, he also promised police informants would be given an allowance as a reward for the job done.

“The public should be bold to report to the police when they see something wrong. I can assure them that their identities will be protected. And when they give information that is credible and that will lead to arrest of criminals, they will adequately be rewarded because we have something we call informant allowance,” said the police boss.