A five-member gang believed to be behind the vandalising of cars in Nairobi has been arrested.
Peter Njoroge Kirika, John Muchoki Gatuhu, John Kimani Nganga, Peter Mwangi Murima and Benson Itimu Kariuki were arraigned in a Ruiru court yesterday.
Police were granted 10 days by court to complete investigations.
According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the gang has been carjacking motorists and stripping down their vehicles – headlights, signalling lights, side mirrors, bumpers, wheels, batteries, radios, e.t.c.
They have mostly been targeting taxi operators. “The vicious gang operates between Githurai, Ruiru and Kirigiti in Kiambu (and) targets Little Cab drivers,” says the DCI.
To lure their victims, one of the gang members poses as a hail-ride customer, and requests for a taxi on the mobile phone app.
Once a driver falls into the trap, his passenger, seated on the back seat squeezes the driver’s neck and commandeers the car to a secluded area where his accomplices join him. He is then robbed off his valuables after being assaulted, vehicle vandalised.
“In one such instance, on February 10th, one of the thugs using a fake identity requested to be taken to Kirigiti (Kiambu) from Githurai Kimbo, to allegedly pick his ailing mother who needed urgent medical attention,” narrates the DCI. “The unsuspecting cab driver then set off for the journey but on reaching Kirigiti, a male adult emerged and entered the vehicle instead. The vehicle was then commandeered to Sasini coffee bushes where three more thugs emerged.”
DCI says the thugs vandalised the vehicle, making away with headlights and tail lights, side mirrors, mirror switches, car battery and spare wheel.
Hardly had detectives concluded this investigation than the gang struck again. The vehicles were stripped bare and abandoned in Mwihoko, Githurai in the dead of the night.
“However, on Monday following intelligence leads, Githurai and Ruiru based detectives apprehended the criminals,” says DCI.
Three of the suspects are ex-convicts for various capital offenses including robbery with violence and murder. DCI says the gang comprises of a specialist mechanic adept at vandalising a vehicle within minutes, and a “customer relations expert”, who lures unsuspecting taxi drivers to their trap.
A vehicle used by the gang, assorted keys, screw drivers and gunny bags for carrying vandalised motor vehicle parts were also recovered. “Also recovered were original identity cards belonging to victims of crime, used to register SIM cards and lure unsuspecting cab drives and a mobile phone for making taxi requests,” says DCI.
DCI is now calling on the public to share information that may assist in trailing the markets of the stolen vehicle parts.