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Why court freed man who stole Bibles worth Sh3,000 from supermarket

Alex Muiruri Ndagayo at a Nairobi court, February 10, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A man who admitted to stealing two Bibles worth Sh3,240 from a supermarket in Nairobi has been set free by a Nairobi court.

Alex Muiruri Ndagayo, 27, was arrested on January 28 after he stole the Bibles at Naivas Lifestyle Supermarket along Koinange Street in Nairobi.

When he appeared before Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo on Monday, Ndagayo admitted to committing the offence.

On Thursday, a report by probation officer Esther Mabeya noted that Ndagayo wanted to sell the Bibles to raise bus fare to Mombasa. He wanted to go to Mombasa to look for a job. It was his inability to raise the money he needed for transport that pushed him to commit the offense, the court heard.

Ms Kagendo had asked Mabeya to present the report on the suspect before sentencing him.

The probation officer told the court she had established that Ndagayo had just one parent, his mother, who was struggling especially after the death of the suspect's father, Joseph Muiruri, in 1997.

At the same time, Mabeya told the court that Ndagayo's mother, Sara Naserian Muiruri, has been in hospital in Tanzania for the last six months.

In her report, the official said Ndagayo and his two siblings had a good upbringing. She said the family would be plunged into hardships after the death of his father, who was the sole breadwinner.

He even enrolled for a diploma course in electrical and electronics engineering but dropped out of college due to lack of school fees. He later moved to Tanzania in 2016 in search of employment, the court heard.

Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo released Alex Ndagayo but warned him not to repeat the offence. [Courtesy]

"Your honour the accused moved back to Kenya after one and half years, in 2018, and in January 2019, he got employed by Kent Investments where he worked for two years," Mabeya said in her report.

The report indicated that Ndagayo later moved to Mombasa where he worked with a road construction company for six months.

When his contract expired, Ndagayo who is also a father of one returned to Nairobi. He does not have a job and he is a low-income person, Mabeya told the court.

"The accused person is not married but supports his fiancée Esther Njeri and their daughter using what he earns from the casual jobs he does. He stays in Kahawa Sukari," Mabeya said in her report.

The report added: "He opted to steal the Bibles and sell them to raise his fare because his cousin, whom he stays with, was also not in a position to give him fare to travel to Mombasa."

Naivas Supermarket, through its legal team, said its policy requires an offender in such a case to pay the value of the stolen goods ten times. However, in this case, the supermarket opted not to have the accused fined but left the eventual decision to the discretion of the court.

Kagendo released Ndagayo but warned him not to repeat the offence. 

"I noted from the probation officer's report that his background was very bad. He has no fixed abode in Nairobi as he stays with his cousin whenever he is around and the accused is a person of low-income means. He is not fully employed," said Kagendo.

The accused had been detained at the Central Police Station.