Voi police on Thursday arrested five suspected gangsters who were conducting surveillance outside two banks in a major breakthrough to highway crimes in the region.
County Police Commander Patrick Okeri said investigations have been launched to establish the true identities and intent of the suspects.
Two vehicles, several fake vehicles number plates, a large sum of money, assorted phones and expensive watches were recovered from the gang. The vehicles are already being processed to find out if they are stolen.
Speaking at Voi Police Station where the suspects are being held, Okeri said the suspects had started conducting surveillance in preparation to strike and cause mayhem.
“They had come from Mombasa and were getting ready to strike before heading to Nakuru,” he said,
It started with a public tip-off on two suspicious vehicles parked outside KCB and Cooperative bank in Voi town. Detectives dispatched to the banks suspected something fishy was going on after vehicles’ occupants attempted to hurriedly roll-up the windows and drive away quickly.
The number plates had already been changed from what the tip-off had initially stated.
The two vehicles, Mazda Demio were escorted to Voi police station where a thorough search disclosed the fake number plates hidden in the boot of the cars. Car lock-breaking equipment was also recovered.
Preliminary investigations show the gang had arrived in Voi from Mombasa and was on its way to Nakuru. The gang specializes in breaking cars and targets valuables including laptops, tablets, watches, purses and wallets left by unsuspecting owners.
“They admitted they break into cars looking for valuables which they sell immediately,” explained the police boss.
The suspects alleged they were at the banks’ parking lot to survey on possible vehicles to rob. To avoid attracting attention of the bank security, the five pretended to be banks’ clients which could allow them to hang around the bank parking lot for a long time without questioning.
The police commander said they were also probing if the gang was mapping out the bank for a future hit.
“We are also looking into possibilities that they were not only targeting the cars at the parking lots but also the bank itself,” he said.
Due to the location of Voi as a highway town located along the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway, the town is prone to lightning-fast strikes by thugs who steal and continue with their journey. The suspects come from Mombasa, Nyamira, Machakos, Nairobi and Migori. There are reports that the gang uses the fake plates to avoid detection whenever they strike to put the investigators off their trail.
More reports say investigations will also be extended to Mombasa garages where the fake number plates were being manufactured.
The suspects are set to be arraigned in court and charged with intention to commit felony. Additional charges will arise from the findings of the investigations.
By Wagema Mwangi