ROBBERS POUNCE ON CATHOLIC CHURCH
Burglars pounced on a Roman Catholic Church in Pumula South suburb and fled with thousands of dollars in church funds. Roman Catholic Church Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Father Hlakanipha Dube confirmed the incident.
He said police were investigating the matter which he described as unlawful entry and theft. “I am aware of the matter and we have since reported it to the police who came to the parish to attend the scene and carry out their investigations,” he said.
He said nobody was injured and no church property was damaged during the incident that occurred in the wee hours of Thursday.
Father Dube could not say how much money was stolen as some church offerings had not yet been accounted for. Some church members said they had been told during a church service at the parish that $12 000 had been stolen while others pegged the missing money at $3 000.
Father Dube said this was the second time that money had been stolen at the same parish this year.
“We encountered a similar misfortune in April in which we also lost some money which was in a safe. It is quite worrying that we are having such crimes and robbers are targeting churches,” he said.
“I’m afraid there could be laxity in ensuring that there is tight security at the parish. We need to ensure that security is always tight at night in order to reduce the occurrence of such unfortunate incidents.”
Sources from the church said $2 500 was stolen from the church in April.
The parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima, Father Bhekimpilo Tshuma, is said to be away in South Africa attending a church conference.
When contacted for comment, Father Tshuma said the matter was being handled by the police.
Some church members who spoke on condition of anonymity said one of the priests, who are in interim charge, had a female visitor on the day the money disappeared and there were questions surrounding her visit.
Bulawayo Police Spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.
Police have repeatedly warned members of the public and organisations to desist from keeping large sums of money at home or at their premises as they risk being targeted by robbers.