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Thika police nab two bag-snatching moped muggers.

Police in Thika have nabbed two motorcycle thugs believed to be part of a Boda-Boda cyclist gang that has been terrorising residents in the sub-county.

The two, James Macharia and Christopher Ndung’u were arrested on Sunday evening after two failed attempted robberies at the Gatitu Junction and near Naivas Supermarket.

According to our police sources, an undercover police officer had taken cover at the Gatitu junction when he saw the two, who are in their early 20s, accosted a lady who had just alighted from a matatu and attempted to snatch her handbag. Luckily, for her, she was able to hold on to her bag to the frustration of the two.

When their mission aborted, the sped off towards the CBD to Commercial Street near Naivas Supermarket. The undercover police followed them in his vehicle and there, he witnessed them again trying to snatch a bag from another lady. Like in the previous attempt, they too were not lucky and sped off again towards the old City Clock near Kristina Wangari Gardens.

The officer was able to trail them all the way to Haile Selassie Street near Klub Image where they parked their bike and popped into a pork butchery for some nyama bites. It was at this juncture that the officer was able to ask for reinforcement to accost the two suspects.

The two were arrested and taken to the police cells for further interrogation and upon, it was discovered that they hailed from Kamwangi in Gatundu North sub-county. The brand new motorbike they were using bore no number plate, making it very difficult for anyone to identify it in case of any incident.

Our sources told us that majority of these bodaboda criminals hailed from the outskirts of Thika town and used to escape into their hideouts whenever they noticed that they were being trailed.

“Most of these criminals come from Mang’u, Gatanga and Kabati areas. Very few of them are from within because we very easily trace where they live. However, we have a few living in Kiandutu, Kiganjo and Witeithie,” explained our source.

Of late, thieves riding on bodabodas have reigned terror in Thika often involved in a range of offences. They especially target victims scrolling through their mobile phones or women carrying handbags and snatching them. In most of these instances, they ride in pairs with the passenger doing the actual snatching.

In some instances, they been reported to have turned violent especially in isolated alleys where they attack their victims with knives or rob them at gun point.

(Related story: Armed Robberies, Petty Crimes on The Prowl In Thika.)

In the past one week, there has been a heated debate online over moped-riding criminals after a spate of attempted drive-by mobile phone and handbag thefts within the town.

“Gangsters on motorbikes” has now become a common element of accounts of crime incidents in Thika with criminals infiltrating the bodaboda business and using it as a cover to commit serious crimes, including murder and robbery as the gangsters use the fast and easily maneuverable motorcycles to escape from crime scenes. These gangsters, posing as bodaboda operators, often scout for potential victims or look for premises with valuables to rob.

It is tricky for victims to identify the perpetrators because the riders wear helmets or hoods, meaning their faces are covered and they cannot be identified. Most of their bikes do not also bear any number plates. In most cases, these criminals ride in pairs.

The most notorious sections are Section 9 between the Shell roundabout and Chania Tourist Lounge, Section 2 between the KRA roundabout and Thika Primary School for the Blind, within the CBD, Magoko road towards Majengo Estate, Mukiriti area, Ngoingwa Estate especially along murram road, between KVM and Engen Petrol Station, between Engen and Kiang’ombe along the bypass, between Delta Petrol Station and Jungle Holdings among others.

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