3 suspects found ‘flashing’ stolen phones face robbery with violence charges
Three mobile phone repair technicians who were allegedly found flashing and programming stolen phones to alter their International Mobile Equipment Identification (IMEI) numbers are now facing multiple charges including violent robbery, tempering with communication equipment and theft.
The three – Lagat Kamonde, Victor Ali and Dismus Ongaye – were arrested on September 6, 2023 at their shop in the Kware area, Embakasi in Nairobi where 30 mobile phones were recovered. Police believe the phones were stolen from members of the public in Nairobi and other counties.
One of the phones was stolen from Fredrick Achieng Omalla in Tigoni, Kiambu County on August 27, 2023 before the phone was found with the three suspects. Mr Omalla was of the robbed mobile phone worth Sh32,000 and Sh15,000 in cash. He was robbed by a gang armed with crude weapons.
The three suspects are accused of colluding with others who are still at large to carry out the robbery contrary to section 296 (2) of the Penal Code jointly with others at large which they denied.
The accused persons are also facing charges of handling stolen property in contravention of section 322 (1) of the criminal procedure code and another charge of stealing a mobile phone worth Sh16,000 from Peter Mulwa who was mugged along Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi City Centre on August 26, 2023.
Further, they have been charged with retaining Mr Mulwa’s phone at their shop at the time of their arrest. They are facing a total of three theft charges regarding stolen phones recovered at their shop which have been identified by their owners.
The three were also charged with tampering with telecommunication plants contrary to section 32 (b) of the Kenya Information and Communication Act of 2020. In the charge, Kamonde and his two accomplices are accused of being in possession of 30 assorted phones, some having been flashed and programmed to conceal all the identification of the owners, on September 6th when they were picked up by the police.
Undercover police officers from Makadara Sub County were on patrol when they received information about a shop in Kware where stolen phones were being flashed.
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They proceeded to the shop, arrested the three suspects and recovered three laptops, CPUs, and monitors. The officers also recovered a gadget used to flash and programme stolen phones to alter unique identification details including details of their owners.
Police believe the suspects are part of a syndicate involved in smuggling stolen phones to neighbouring countries after they are stolen from Kenyans in violent robberies and muggings.
The suspects denied all the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Agnes Mwangi of the Makadara Law Courts and were released on a bond of Sh250,000 each in the robbery case and cash bail of varied amounts for the other charges.
The cases will be mentioned on November 29, 2023 before the hearing starts on May 22, 2024.
Meanwhile, the police have appealed to members of the public who have lost their mobile phones in robberies, muggings, and pickpocketing to report at the Industrial Area police station to identify them so that more charges can be levelled against the suspects.