Chiefs in Thika town have managed to scuttle a phone theft syndicate involving rogue police officers, who have been terrorizing residents over the past few years.
Thika West Sub-County Assistant County Commissioner Lazarus Obuar said members of the public arrested the three suspects and recovered 110 mobile phones, most of which are smart phones from Thursdays afternoon’s raid.
“Members of the public took it upon themselves after an outcry by residents over an upsurge of mobile phone thieves, and conducted raids in the absence of police officers,” Obuar noted.
The Assistant county commissioner said they accosted the suspects at a mobile phone shop at the Thika main stage.
Residents have been complaining to the police but they claim the authorities rarely follow up on the criminals.
The phone thieves are very calculative, ride on motorcycles and once they spot someone making a call, they snatch the phone and ride away, added the administrator.
Women and students from local learning institutions are the highly targeted. Their mugging areas are along the town centre, matatu stages and along the county government offices near the Thika Police Station.
“You can’t pick a call in these areas. Some of us rarely make calls in the town,” said Lucy Njeri, a resident.
The Assistant County Commissioner said some phones that they seized looked new, an indication that they had been stolen not long ago.
He called on victims of phone theft to report to his office to identify if their phones are among those seized. At the same time, he cautioned the public against buying phones from unlicensed dealers.
Thika Township Member of the County Assembly (MCA) Andrew Kimani called for the transfer of the town’s police who have served for more than three years, saying most of them colluded with criminals.
He said they had already given a list of some rogue officers to the County Police Commander to have them moved and wondered why it was taking too long to effect changes.
By Muoki Charles