Be Aware Of Thieves Targeting Bereaved Families In Nairobi

By Soko Directory Team / Published June 4, 2024 | 6:47 am



Funeral

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, as lovers painted the town red with bouquets and luxuries, it was not a rosy affair for Mr. Peter Munge and his family.

The city lawyer, his children, close relatives, and friends gathered for a solemn occasion at the Christ Is The Answer Ministries (Citam) Valley Road Church to mourn Mr. Munge’s wife, Priscilla Nyawira Munge, who died on February 8.

However, not everyone who attended the funeral service was known to the Munges. That, though, was not unusual for a public event. And in any case, there is comfort in numbers during such trying times. The program indicated that the funeral service was scheduled to start at 2 pm. As family and friends kept tabs on the clock, anxious to pay tribute to their loved one, so was a stranger in their midst—except she had an ulterior motive.

An hour into the memorial service, the woman slipped out of the church and sped to Mr. Munge’s home in Lavington, Nairobi. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage shows the moment a Nissan Note, registration number KCY 9041, pulled over at the Munge’s gate. Onboard were two individuals—a male driver and a woman passenger. The woman turns out to be the stranger who was in church. A security guard approached the vehicle, engaged the occupants briefly before opening the gate, and let them in. A different camera mounted inside the compound captures the vehicle parked outside the house.

The woman disembarked and walked towards the main door. At 3:31 pm, she disappeared out of view because of a blind spot. The driver remained in the car. Six minutes later, a boy played his way into the camera view. He is seen speaking to someone from the direction in which the mysterious woman entered the house. Then he alerted the driver to move the car to where the woman was presumably waiting. She appeared to know the camera points around the home and was keen to stay out of view. Thereafter, the car was driven out of the compound at 3:39 pm. The mission was accomplished within 10 minutes.

According to Mr. Munge, substantial theft took place at his home in that brief period. “After church, we got back to the house in the evening and realized that some items were missing from the children’s rooms and various other places in the house,” Mr. Munge says. Only the house girl was at home at the time. The burglar seems to have done sufficient background checks before committing the crime without raising suspicion. “The next day when we checked the CCTV, we realized that a lady came to our home by taxi, accessed our house after pretending to be a relative, stole from us, and left,” Mr. Munge explains.

A search for the Nissan Note’s ownership details on the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) database revealed joint ownership between one Paul Muya Macharia and a commercial bank. An official from Citam confirmed knowledge of the incident. The matter was reported at Muthangari Police Station vide OB number 12/16/02/2024.

It has since emerged that there is a gang on the prowl. The criminals check out death announcements involving seemingly well-to-do families who attend church in upmarket Nairobi neighborhoods. From media publications, social media posts, or announcements in church, they can locate the houses of the bereaved. Then they keep track of the day of the memorial service and attend church like other mourners. While the service is underway, the criminals slip away and go to the targeted homes to either break in, if no one is there or deceive whoever they find, most probably the house help.

Since the thieves have much information about the bereaved family, the house help would not suspect that something was amiss. “One of the house managers had been left at home. As the police were investigating the case, I came to realize that there is a group of presentable ladies, who are not young, who are involved in the thefts,” Mr. Munge explains. “They join mourners during funeral services before carrying out their plots. I am aware of two other similar incidents in the last few months. One happened at the same church we were in and another at the All Saints’ Cathedral.”

At All Saints’ Cathedral along Kenyatta Avenue, similar cases have been reported. The Provost, Very Reverend Canon Evans Omollo, acknowledges. “Somebody comes, monitors, and knows that a family has a funeral service here at All Saints. Then they will take all the details, probably they’ve published the details in a newspaper or on social media,” Mr. Omollo says. One such case occurred in October 2023 when a family was holding a requiem mass for their matriarch. On the material day, an unknown person gained access to their home while they were in church. The house was ransacked and valuables, including mobile phones, laptops, jewelry, and cash, were stolen. CCTV surveillance footage showed that the thief was a smartly dressed woman. Cameras at the All Saints Cathedral captured the woman dressed similarly to the bereaved family members. She left the church premises moments after the start of the memorial service and went to the house.

Mr. Philemon Samoei, a security manager at All Saints’ Cathedral, says the thieves take advantage of the vulnerability of the grieving family. “At the time the funeral service is going on, most of the congregants lower their guard because the focus is basically on the bereaved family and the program. The suspects are usually smartly dressed for the event. As a security expert, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between an honest mourner and one who has an ill motive,” Mr. Samoei says. He mentioned that although similar incidents have not been reported at their church this year, they handled several cases last year. In one instance, security officers spotted a suspicious woman attending a memorial service. They alerted some of the family members to be cautious and to check that all was well at home.

According to the security expert, the purpose of alerting the family members was so that they could lay a trap at home and catch the suspect since she could not be arrested for simply attending a service. “By coming to such institutions where weddings or funeral services are held, they are just out to pick information because they want to get to know where the home is,” explains Mr. Samoei. Provost Omollo and Mr. Samoei say the new crime trend is an escalation from the one they had dealt with years ago. At the time, thieves would attend weddings in the church with the sole aim of stealing from those in attendance.

Recently, it has been reported that Wanjiru, a known thief, has been seen near Hillcrest School. Boda boda guys confirmed her name and location, identifying that part of Karen as her base. It’s frustrating that the DCI and police won’t arrest her, seeming to turn a blind eye to the victims. No wonder people take the law into their own hands when dealing with thieves; the DCI and police are not doing their job. How is it possible that the DCI in Karen doesn’t know about a known thief in their area? They must be ignoring it. Even the area chief knows her! Just send a recording to the chief, and he will lead you to her house.

Does anyone know the chief for that part of Karen? Or should we be contacting Kuwindwa? Interestingly, the boda boda guys know Wanjiru, but the DCI won’t arrest her. What’s going on? Wanjiru’s presence near Hillcrest School has been confirmed by multiple sources, yet the authorities do nothing. The frustration with the DCI and police is real. Why are they not taking action against a known thief? If even the local chief knows Wanjiru, why aren’t the authorities doing something about it? Shockingly, the DCI in Karen is unaware or unwilling to act against a known thief in their area. The local boda boda riders have identified Wanjiru, but the DCI and police remain inactive. What’s the reason?

“I feel sad because at the lowest time when somebody loses their loved one, then you pounce and hurt them more,” Provost Omollo regrets.

Read Also: Here Are The Most Dangerous Places In Nairobi As Muggings Carry The Day




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

View other posts by Soko Directory Team


More Articles From This Author








Trending Stories










Other Related Articles










SOKO DIRECTORY & FINANCIAL GUIDE



ARCHIVES

2024
  • January 2024 (238)
  • February 2024 (227)
  • March 2024 (190)
  • April 2024 (133)
  • May 2024 (157)
  • June 2024 (82)
  • 2023
  • January 2023 (182)
  • February 2023 (203)
  • March 2023 (322)
  • April 2023 (298)
  • May 2023 (268)
  • June 2023 (214)
  • July 2023 (212)
  • August 2023 (257)
  • September 2023 (237)
  • October 2023 (266)
  • November 2023 (286)
  • December 2023 (177)
  • 2022
  • January 2022 (293)
  • February 2022 (329)
  • March 2022 (358)
  • April 2022 (292)
  • May 2022 (271)
  • June 2022 (232)
  • July 2022 (278)
  • August 2022 (253)
  • September 2022 (246)
  • October 2022 (196)
  • November 2022 (232)
  • December 2022 (167)
  • 2021
  • January 2021 (182)
  • February 2021 (227)
  • March 2021 (325)
  • April 2021 (259)
  • May 2021 (285)
  • June 2021 (272)
  • July 2021 (277)
  • August 2021 (232)
  • September 2021 (271)
  • October 2021 (305)
  • November 2021 (364)
  • December 2021 (249)
  • 2020
  • January 2020 (272)
  • February 2020 (310)
  • March 2020 (390)
  • April 2020 (321)
  • May 2020 (335)
  • June 2020 (327)
  • July 2020 (333)
  • August 2020 (276)
  • September 2020 (214)
  • October 2020 (233)
  • November 2020 (242)
  • December 2020 (187)
  • 2019
  • January 2019 (251)
  • February 2019 (215)
  • March 2019 (283)
  • April 2019 (254)
  • May 2019 (269)
  • June 2019 (249)
  • July 2019 (335)
  • August 2019 (293)
  • September 2019 (306)
  • October 2019 (313)
  • November 2019 (362)
  • December 2019 (318)
  • 2018
  • January 2018 (291)
  • February 2018 (213)
  • March 2018 (275)
  • April 2018 (223)
  • May 2018 (235)
  • June 2018 (176)
  • July 2018 (256)
  • August 2018 (247)
  • September 2018 (255)
  • October 2018 (282)
  • November 2018 (282)
  • December 2018 (184)
  • 2017
  • January 2017 (183)
  • February 2017 (194)
  • March 2017 (207)
  • April 2017 (104)
  • May 2017 (169)
  • June 2017 (205)
  • July 2017 (189)
  • August 2017 (195)
  • September 2017 (186)
  • October 2017 (235)
  • November 2017 (253)
  • December 2017 (266)
  • 2016
  • January 2016 (164)
  • February 2016 (165)
  • March 2016 (189)
  • April 2016 (143)
  • May 2016 (245)
  • June 2016 (182)
  • July 2016 (271)
  • August 2016 (247)
  • September 2016 (233)
  • October 2016 (191)
  • November 2016 (243)
  • December 2016 (153)
  • 2015
  • January 2015 (1)
  • February 2015 (4)
  • March 2015 (164)
  • April 2015 (107)
  • May 2015 (116)
  • June 2015 (119)
  • July 2015 (145)
  • August 2015 (157)
  • September 2015 (186)
  • October 2015 (169)
  • November 2015 (173)
  • December 2015 (205)
  • 2014
  • March 2014 (2)
  • 2013
  • March 2013 (10)
  • June 2013 (1)
  • 2012
  • March 2012 (7)
  • April 2012 (15)
  • May 2012 (1)
  • July 2012 (1)
  • August 2012 (4)
  • October 2012 (2)
  • November 2012 (2)
  • December 2012 (1)
  • 2011
    2010
    2009
    2008
    2007
    2006
    2005
    2004
    2003
    2002
    2001
    2000
    1999
    1998
    1997
    1996
    1995
    1994
    1993
    1992
    1991
    1990
    1989
    1988
    1987
    1986
    1985
    1984
    1983
    1982
    1981
    1980
    1979
    1978
    1977
    1976
    1975
    1974
    1973
    1972
    1971
    1970
    1969
    1968
    1967
    1966
    1965
    1964
    1963
    1962
    1961
    1960
    1959
    1958
    1957
    1956
    1955
    1954
    1953
    1952
    1951
    1950