Where your phones go after being snatched

By - Jan 1st 1970

Monica Kibe, a resident of Kilimani in Nairobi was waiting to board a matatu to the city centre at around 6 am as usual.

Like any other day, many people had not arrived at the bus stop; then a motorbike carrying a pillion passenger stopped beside her as if to ask for directions to a certain hotel. Before she could respond, her mobile phone worth Sh35,000 was snatched and the motorbike zoomed off, leaving her dumbfounded. Kibe reported the matter to police and obtained an OB number but after several days of making inquiries she gave up the chase.

This is the situation that hundreds of city residents are experiencing on a daily basis.

More worrying is how some mobile phones that are said to be hard to crack and easy to track are vanishing in the black market.

On November 20 for instance detectives in Kasarani arrested a man in possession of 265 iPhones and 10 android phones estimated to be about Sh10 million.

“This one is the mastermind, because he is the one who receives all those stolen phones,” area Deputy Police Commander Anthony Mbogo stated.

Some city residents who are victims of mobile phone snatchers told The Nairobian that reporting the cases to authorities is a bit challenging and time-consuming.

“I have lost about six mobile phones but every time I report them police are reluctant, in some stations the first thing they ask is a facilitation fee to track the phones,” said Nick Mutahi

A detective privy to mobile phone tracking said that while they are making efforts to trace the stolen gadgets some second-hand phone dealers have sophisticated software to crack some phones.

“Some phones that are hard to crack are dismantled and sold in parts; when it comes to simple ones, the dealers have some softwares that is used to clear them to default setting,” the detective told The Nairobian.

Not long ago, police warned the victims of phone snatchers that it is crucial to report stolen gadgets lest they be used to commit crimes.

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