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Beware of sedating con artists

By By ROSE KWAMBOKA | June 29th 2013


Recently, a woman was aired talking of an attempt by con artists to strip her of valuables on Mfangano street. She had moved from shop to shop in search of a cover for her phone, and every time the shop attendant wanted to see her phone, she would decline, fearing it might be stolen.

When she got to a shop where a woman was serving customers, she felt safer and showed her the phone. The shop attendant said they did not have covers for the phone at the time but could check in the back shop if the customer was willing to wait.

It was while the attendant was at the back shop, probably not even looking for the cover, that it all happened.

A man passing by slightly touched her shoulder, leaving a white dusty patch on her arm. Barely seconds later, the customer and her son, whom she was walking with, started feeling unwell. Noticing something was amiss, she quickly crossed over to her friend’s shop across the street where she slept for a while before the supposed drug effect wore off.

Forgot everything

Tabitha’s story is a classic example  of same script, different cast. She was working as a house girl and had been sent by her boss to pay fees for the kids, besides taking lunch to them. The queue was long and the network drag was not making things any faster so she decided to take lunch to the kids and return to the bank.

Three hours later the school called to say the children did not get the lunch. The only thing the girl could remember after stepping out of the bank was mark-timing at a point without her handbag. She had tried very much to walk away from the point but her body would not let her. She regained consciousness two hours later and went back home, having lost the money she had been given. She could not account for the hours lost.

Mercy on the other hand had just stepped out of an ATM booth when a lady approached her. The lady said Mercy had something on her nose. She extended her hand to wipe the said foreign item from mercy’s nose. Twenty seconds later Mercy was back at her ATM withdrawing money for the stranger. How? She cannot tell.

While walking near Nairobi Cinema, yet another lady tapped Grace, pretending that her trouser had a stain. She turned to check out the stain, only to bump into a man tripping and spilling her items in the process. The ‘gentleman’ helped her pick them up and that is all she could remember. She woke up 20 minutes later at the council benches without her phone, bag or money.

Cases of women being conned of their cash after being sedated are on the rise. According to a chemical analyst, it is believed the white substance used is Ketamine, known as K on the streets. It renders one temporarily unconscious.

The other most commonly used drug is Trichloromethane, popularly known as chloroform. It comes in liquid form, colourless and sweet smelling. Its inhalation has the same effects as Ketamine. However, unlike Ketamine, it is readily available over the counter in chemists and supermarkets.

Con artists mostly rely on the soft empathetic nature of ladies to rob them of their wealth, as Kerubo found out.

She was outside a banking hall waiting for her friend when a lady approached her. The lady said she had just undergone divorce and her ex-husband had sent spies to watch her every move and was suspecting that they were on a mission to kill her. She asked Kerubo to escort her to the bus station, promising to give her Sh10,000.

Feeling obliged to help the poor lady, Kerubo followed the stranger to the said stage only to be relieved of all her valuables, including Sh100,00 she had withdrawn that day. She had just walked right into a con artists’ trap.

Fled scene

Millicent’s story however reads like one from the movies. She had just alighted at Tea room and was well on her way towards Kencom when a smartly dressed man, complete with a Bishop’s collar and well-cut suit, approached her.

He mildy smelt of alcohol but she assumed it was the wine usually taken by priests when they toast to the body and blood of Christ. He asked for directions to a crusade. What struck Millicent was the fact that he spoke fluent Swahili though he claimed he was from West Africa. She smelt a rat and fled quickly before anything else happened.

Jane was approached by a ‘prophet’ who wanted to pray for her. Soon after they met, a man in awe of the ‘prophet’ appeared and asked her if she was the one featured on a popular TV station.

This gave Jane confidence in the ‘prophet’. She did not know how but by the time the prayers were over, she had none of her valuables.

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