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How criminal matatu crew are stealing from commuters on Thika Road.

Commuters along Thika road and several other service roads have expressed the re-emergence of matatu thugs who are stealing phones and personal valuables from unsuspecting commuters who board these matatus.

According to some of the victims, this crime is committed mostly on people who board matatus along the highway popularly known as “matatu za murengo”.

“The practice is so common early in the mornings and late at night when there is little human traffic on the road. Majority of these matatus are old and unroadworthy that seem never to operate during the day when traffic police are on the road,” explains one of the victims who lost his phone on Monday night.

He says that the trick lies in faulty doors and safety belts where the victim is asked to lock the door and as they are struggling to do so, the person next to them empties their pockets.

“These doors will never lock properly so you end up holding onto it so as not to fall over as the vehicle is moving. Once they steal from you, the conductor ‘alerts you that you have dropped an item’ and instructs the driver to stop the van. Immediately you alight to check what you have dropped, the driver speeds off and leaves you stranded in the dark,” he adds.

He says that after this is when the victims realise that they had lost some of their valuables.

Those who spoke of the ordeal claim that the vehicles usually have few “customers” on
boards, most of whom are accomplices.

“Gari hukam ikiwa na vacant ya kiti ya mbele. Mlango haifungiki so when u try to close it, simu inaporwa na uyu msee amekaa na driver. Then someone touches u from behind and tells u kuna kitu umeangusha nje... Unatoka kusaka fon. Gari inaenda, unabaki ukitafta simu...,” explained another victim.

Another trick is usually someone pretending to open the window from the furthest end of the sea and as the brush against you, they pickpocket you and later alight from the next bus stop.

Others will drops some coins and request their victims to help them to pick and before they know it, the phone is gone.

Matatus heading to Ruiru ndani were said to be the worst culprits with others implicating some plying the Thika-Makongeni and Thika-Kiganjo routes at night.

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