Victor Maphosa Herald CorrespondentCHEEKY thieves are giving motorists a tough time by stripping vehicles of their badges and wheel covers in Harare’s parking bays.
The thieves go on to sell the components as second-hand parts to vendors plying their business at such areas in the capital as Gazaland, Mbare and Zindoga.
In most cases, the vehicle owners end up buying the same stolen items from these areas.
An investigation by The Herald revealed that many cars, especially Toyota and Mercedes-Benz brands, are moving without badges and wheel covers due to these thefts.
In most cases, the motorists take the offence lightly and do not report the stolen items to the police.
They only feel the loss when they are made to pay up to US$20 for a Toyota badge and US$25 for a set of wheel covers by vendors at the usual second-hand spares’ markets in the city.
Car badges are plucked off the front section of the cars.
A reporter posed as a components’ customer near Mupedzanhamo flea market in Mbare where he was charged US$18 for a Toyota badge and US$20 for a set of Honda Fit wheel covers.
“I have the badges, but I can only take them out upon payment,” said one of the vendors. “The one that you want costs US$18. We buy them from some boys, but I don’t know where they get them from. Just show me the money and I will bring it right away.”
Some 100 metres away, another person who was only identified as “Madzibaba” had the badges in stock and the prices varied depending on the make of the vehicle.
Badges for Toyota Vitz vehicles were selling at US$18 each, while those for a Toyota Land Cruiser were going for US$25.
The vendors charged US$30 for a Mercedes-Benz badge.
The prices were similar to those obtaining at Gazaland in Highfield and Harare Street in downtown Harare.
The Herald identified vehicles that had missing badges and wheel covers and interviewed the owners on the problem.
Mr Tinashe Hondoyemisha, whose Isuzu double cab’s badge was missing, said the thieves plucked out the badge when he left the car in a parking lot at OK Fife Avenue in Harare.
“When I came out of the supermarket, I just noticed a strange look on my car, but I could not immediately figure out the problem,” he said. “After further scrutiny, I discovered my sign was gone. I also found some scratches around the place where the sign was inserted and I realised it was stolen while I was inside the shop.”
A driver of a Toyota Wish, who only identified himself as TK and plies the Harare-Mutare highway, lost all the wheel covers and the badge to thieves. Vimbai Aritora, who had her Honda Fit’ badge stolen, said the thieves pounced on her car when she was having a hair done.
Another motorist in Highfield said his wheel covers were stolen during the night at his house, but recovered them two days later at a local market where they were priced at US$20.
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned dealers against buying used car parts from people without following correct procedures.
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