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How two-month plot to rob city bank flopped at the last hour

NATIONAL
By Kamore Maina | July 3rd 2021

When one opted out at the last minute, five accomplices who had booked rooms in a hotel next to the bank were caught in the act. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Five men found drilling their way into a bank in Nairobi’s city centre had planned the heist for two months.

According to police sources, the five friends would meet every weekend at a joint in Kayole Estate to fine-tune their plan.

Initially, they were six men, but one pulled out at 9.30pm on the day of the planned robbery and the day they were arrested; Thursday. Five of the men were from Kayole and Dandora while the sixth one lived in Kahawa West.

The man who pulled out is said to have disagreed with his accomplices over an unestablished issue. The rest of the men, however, decided to carry one with the operation.

Four of the men, aged between 30 and 35, left their rented houses in Kayole and Dandora at different times heading to the city.

At around 7.30pm, the first man arrived at a city lodge in Nairobi’s Ukwala Lane near OTC bus stage. The lodge shares a wall with the targeted bank. The man went to the lodge reception and booked himself into one of the rooms on the first floor, paying Sh1,000 for the night.

A few minutes later, four other men arrived at the guesthouse with their luggage – one man had a big grey bag while two others had hand luggage.

They also requested that they be booked into three rooms on the first floor.

It was evident that the four men knew each other as they kept chatting while they were served.

The hotel receptionist told police that the men looked like they had travelled from upcountry or were headed there.

It took the men about 30 minutes to get settled into their rooms after which they all congregated at the hotel reception where they sat in the lobby watching TV.

Four retired into their rooms at about 10pm while the fifth remained behind chatting with a security guard.

At around 11pm, a contingent of police officers from the Kamukunji Police Station and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) arrived at the lodge.

The heavily armed officers went to the first floor and took charge of the building. They knocked on the doors of the four rooms and demanded they be opened.

When the police finally entered the rooms, they found three of the men on the rooftop.

The ceiling had been ripped open and they were drilling the walls to gain access to the banking hall.

Central Police Commander John Nyamu said they were tipped by their informers. “This was an intelligence-led operation and we caught the suspects while drilling their way into the bank,” Nyamu said.

Items recovered included three hacksaws, a twisted rope, which the police believe was to be used to scale up the walls, metal cutting scissors, and a suitcase containing clothes.

In 2017, four university graduates were arrested in connection to a Sh50 million robbery. The four are said to have drilled a hole into the KCB Thika branch from an adjacent building.

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