How gang posing as police is robbing ‘loaded’ bank customers
A gang of four people posing as police officers in Mt Kenya region is robbing people just after they withdraw large amounts of money from banks.
The gangsters pose as plainclothes police officers and publicly ‘arrest’ their victims.
The gang’s primary targets seem to be customers who make large cash withdrawals.
At least four cases of the daring daylight robberies have been reported since January within Laikipia.
Their mode of operation, from some of the cases reviewed by the Nation, indicates a well-organised gang that is not afraid of confrontation by law enforcement even in broad daylight.
According to victims’ accounts, the gang is armed with guns, including an AK-47 rifle. The robbers are also said to have handcuffs and some members wear camouflage police uniforms.
Not only do these criminals rob their victims clean, they beat them up and dump them in Mt Kenya Forest.
Mr Nahashon Maina, a cereals trader in Naromoru Town, fell victim to the gang in January and was robbed of Sh240,000 and two mobile phones. He barely survived the ordeal after being dumped in Mt Kenya Forest.
“They took everything I had – my money, my phones, ATM cards – and even tore my clothes up. They are animals,” Mr Maina said in an interview.
He described a brutal day robbery that happened in the full view of the public. Nobody came to his rescue, they just watched from the sidelines.
The robbery seemed well-choreographed and the gang portrayed him as a wanted criminal who was being arrested by a special unit of detectives.
The robbers struck at 11am outside Nanyuki Mall, just a few metres from the County Headquarters.
“They stopped their car in the middle of the road and ran towards me saying I was a criminal and was being arrested. One had a police jacket and they even flashed badges to show they were police officers.
“I tried to run away but they caught up with me. I tried to scream but nobody would help me. People saw me being beaten up but they thought I was a criminal,” Mr Maina narrated.
At the time of attack, Mr Maina had just withdrawn Sh240,000 from a local bank, money he was to use to supply cereals to a local school.
The men handcuffed him and bound his feet, then bundled him into the saloon car that was parked in the middle of the road.
They drove off and for the next three hours he was driven around as three of the men frisked him searching for money and other valuables.
“One of them kept hitting me with the gun butt and another was hitting me with a wheel spanner on my ankles. All they wanted was money and they wanted it all,” he said.
Once they had exhausted the cash he had on him they demanded his ATM cards and the PIN numbers.
When he gave them the wrong PIN number, they beat him again.
They eventually stopped in a forested area and threatened to kill him if he did not give them access to his bank accounts.
“When I could not give them the information they said they were going to kill me. They told me to pick between being shot in the chest or in the head,” Mr Maina said.
Luckily, after a brief argument amongst themselves, the robbers agreed to let him go.
They tore his clothes and drove off.
A teacher in a local school, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation from the criminals, went through a similar ordeal.
He was robbed of Sh180,000 moments after he left a bank.
The criminals, like in the case of Mr Maina, posed as police officers who wanted to arrest him for an unspecified offence.
The robbery cases have been rampant and despite multiple reports being made to police, no arrests have been made.
Police say investigations are ongoing.
Nanyuki police admitted that many people have reported being robbed by the gang.
They said this was not the first time the town was grappling with cases of robberies in which bank staff were suspected of colluding with criminals.
Area OCPD James Kithuka, however, said he was suspicious about the cases.
“It does not make sense for someone to be carrying that much money without security. Yet they said they were robbed in broad daylight and nobody assisted.
“I’m suspicious about these cases. It is true there have been many reports but I’m still suspicious,” OCPD James Kithuka said.
He added: “We are carrying out thorough investigations but we must first find out if they are true in the first place.”