Nairobi News


Teenager gets four-year jail term for mobile phone theft

A 19-year-old man who snatched a mobile phone from a bus passenger along Moi Avenue in Nairobi will serve a jail term of four years if he fails to pay a fine of Sh50,000.

Brian Otieno was handed the penalty by Senior Principal magistrate Gerald Mutiso of the Makadara Law Courts after he pleaded guilty to theft charges contrary to section 279 (a) of the penal code.

Mr Otieno admitted that he stole the mobile phone worth Sh15,000 belonging to Monica Birech on June 29, 2023 in Nairobi City Centre around 4pm.

He was to be charged with an alternative charge of handling stolen goods contrary to section 322 (2) of the penal code after he was found with the phone in Majengo, Kamukunji Sub County but the same was dropped after he admitted the main charge.

Mr Mutiso said he had considered that Mr Otieno is an energetic young man who can work but has chosen a life of crime and a custodial sentence.

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On the day of the incident, Ms Birech was inside a bus headed to her house in Utawala Estate within Embakasi when her phone was snatched as she was making a call after the bus stopped at the junction of Moi Avenue and Haile Selassie Avenue.

Mr Otieno was arrested in Majengo around 5pm the same day by police officers on patrol who saw him and two others looking suspicious.

The other two suspects took off but Mr Otieno was promptly arrested and he was found with the phone which he could not account for.

He taken to Shauri Moyo Police Station where he was booked for conveying a suspected stolen phone but shortly after he was placed in the cells, Ms Birech called and a police officer answered.

She informed the officer that her phone had been stolen in Nairobi Central Business District and the police officer told her that a suspect had been arrested with the phone.

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She had gone to a Safaricom customer care shop in Utawala after alighting from the bust to have her SIM card blocked before any transactions were made but she was asked to call the phone first before it was answered by the cop.

The officer told her that he had found the phone on a suspect and directed her to proceed to the station immediately and record a statement over the theft.

Ms Birech told the court that she was slapped and her phone snatched and she thought an accident had occurred before she was informed by other passengers that her phone had been stolen, she then saw Mr Otieno running away with it.

Ms Birech said she also lost her spectacles which fell after she was slapped by Mr Otieno during the theft.

The complainant sought to withdraw the case against the accused but Mr Mutiso declined her application saying theft of mobile phones by thugs who snatch from passengers and motorists has become prevalent.

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