If you are a resident of Nairobi, you have probably lost your phone or seen someone losing their phone to criminals who are often swift and pounce when least expected.
Be it in a matatu, walking in the streets, or at a social place. These criminals often operate in cohorts and you would be lucky to recover your phone once they get hold of it.
‘The traffic hawk’
They are hawk-eyed criminals who can spot you from a mile away, chatting on your phone. They often make laps in traffic in the evening and pounce whenever there is a window of opportunity, literally. This lot operates at Globe Cinema, Muthurwa and Landhies Road. They pose as innocent pedestrians crossing the road but their eyes often scan around to see who is using their phone or listening to music. They act so fast by opening the car window and grabbing any gadget they come across. Their victims are often left with scratch marks and ‘unsent messages’.
‘The busy body’
You will find them in matatus. They are usually restless and fidget throughout. They might even create false alarm by saying there is a roadblock ahead and passengers should fasten their seatbelts. As you look for your belt, these criminals swing into action and steal anything from the nearest pocket. They are often calm and will alight at the next stage. By the time you realise your gadget is missing they will be long gone.
‘The cover up’
I sincerely wonder where they get the guts to do this but oh well…They are found in most PSVs and often carry a huge sweater, jumper or large envelope. They pounce on unsuspecting victims by placing their ‘luggage’ on their laps as their ‘fingers do the walking’ to people’s pockets. They are experts at unzipping handbags and many ladies have fallen victim to them. Next time you sit next to someone who places their luggage on your laps be on the lookout.
‘The dare devil’
They are as bold as they come. They steal in broad daylight and majestically walk away. They are often armed and flash their crude weapons to intimidate their victims. Some have knives, needles or even human waste! Yes. Woe unto you if you meet them on your way to an important meeting. You will find them in the CBD.
They have become a nuisance in city estates and often operate on motorbikes. They target people using their phones on the road and speed off in a flash. They are believed to work closely with motorbike riders and in recent weeks CCTV cameras have captured them robbing unsuspecting members of the public.