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New robbery tactic involves bodaboda passenger snatching handbags

By Leonard Kulei | Jun 26th 2014 | 5 min read

Nakuru, Kenya: The craze and confidence with which the motorbikes transport commonly known as "bodabodas" had gained from members of the public is slowly losing its sheen as new wave of robbery executed by men racing on the killer bikes is fast gaining notoriety.

Investigations by The Standard have revealed a new and shrewd wave of crime in Nakuru that has led to wanting statistics of people robbed of their valuables within the town while police remain clueless as many of the incidents go unreported.

In the newly-adopted way of stealing, robbers conspire with boda boda operators who amid the thrilling speed, the well-prepared robbers snatch bags from innocent pedestrians, mostly ladies.

This happens within a blink of the eye leaving victims confused and traumatize as the robbers vanish into thin air.

The new form of crime is mainly targeting ladies. It is well planned, choreographed and executed that before a victim realizes she has been robbed, the perpetrators will have already made into undisclosed destination.

Catherine Mkusu, 28, a victim says that she was last week robbed of her pricy hand bag as she strolled with a friend along the busy Kenyatta Avenue.

The robbery which took place in broad daylight left her in shock as she still struggles to come into terms with the loss of her most-treasured bag and Sh3,000.

"I was walking along the street chatting with my colleague when a motorbike slowed down near us and before I turned to give them way thinking that a passenger wanted to alight, the guy in the passenger seat snatched my handbag and they took off," says Mkusu who is also student at a local university.

Catherine says that the incident took place very fast that it is only after her shouts while raising alarm that her friend learnt she had been robbed.

Catherine lost her laptop, phone and money in the incident which took place at around 6:30 pm when she was going home after an evening class.

Though she raised alarm attracting the attention of passersby, the perpetrators vanished as no one took the registration particulars of the motorbike.

The narrative of motorbike robbery is one that has left many ladies in Nakuru town walking with a lot of caution. It is a chilling reality of falling prey to a people so much entrusted with the responsibility of easy mobility within the town.

Beatrice Wangari, who works at a travel agency in Nakuru says she was at the town's main bus terminus when two people on a motorbike grabbed her handbag. She says that her resistance to release it was met with a violent bang on the head that left her for the dead.

"They slapped me when I tried to pull back. I fell down and was unconscious for a while but when I regained, a huge crowd had formed but none knew what had happened to me. Some thought I had epilepsy," she told The Standard.

Beatrice lost all her valuables. Within minutes, she didn't know how she would get home as her fare was gone. She had to start narrating the ordeal to passersby who were not convinced by her account of events.

"I borrowed a phone to call the few numbers I remembered off head but it was in vain. They thought I had fallen prey to a con. Thank God I got home safely but I am yet to find my Identity card and some other documents," says Wangari.

These criminals are so ruthless and swing into action so swiftly that they rarely miss their target as many victims say they all lost their items.

Miriam Tamey wonders the audacity of the muggers who robbed her minutes after she returned from withdrawing money from an ATM machine at a local bank. She notes that the two had been following her and they also parked their motorbike alongside her vehicle.

The duo, she says, unleashed their mission even as two armed police officers manning the bank watched from a distance.

Unnoticed, the robbers had been tracking her for a while. She says that she tried to resist but she was overpowered by the man's strength and was left wailing. She lost Sh15, 000 on the spot.

"They were so close to my car when I returned from the ATM .They seemed to have calculated all their actions as one sprung to me and pulled my hand bag off my arm. I was left desperate," says Tamey.

She adds that one man was holding the motorbike ready to accelerate while the decoy passenger, both in helmets and reflector jackets, sat impatiently.

"The one who snatched my bag sat impatiently all the time since I left the ATM. I didn't suspected anything since I knew police officers were around the facility," she recounts.

Sadly, few cases of such newly adopted robbery go unreported to the police. Most victims says that they prefer to suffer in silence saying that reporting the matter would see them incur some more loses as police are skewed to bribes before investigating even the simplest of crimes.

"I rather not report because some officers would spend the whole year investigating such small case without coming up with solutions," says Jane Cherotich.

However, a total of 1,130 crimes were reported only in the month of March as indicated by a police crime statistics report in possession of The Standard.

With only four cases pending under investigations (PUI) and another 100 pending before court (PBC), the report prepared by Nakuru OCPD Benard Kioko further reveals another 750 cases of crime have were finalized in the same month.

According to Kioko, stealing, which the boda boda form of crime falls under among other thefts, only reported a total of 20 cases. He notes a decline in crime in Nakuru saying that the progress is impressive calling on members of the public to report similar cases to assist the police carry out its mandate well.

"We are doing very well. Recording 20 cases in such big town indicates an impressive performance by the police. People should report such new wave of theft. The police will never relent in executing its duties," says Kioko.

He adds that such cases have not yet been reported to the police. He calls on members of the public and victims to be swift in reporting the cases to avoid false accusations often pointed at police inefficiency.


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