In Summary
  • Detectives from SCPU Saturday morning pounced on Administration Police constable Chris Machogu after trailing his mobile phone signal.
  • He allegedly had Sh1,000 notes with consecutive serial numbers amounting to Sh3 million.

  • On being arrested, Mr Machogu led the detectives to Seko village in Kendu Bay, 36 kilometres away where they arrested Constable Wycliffe Owuor who had Sh3 million on him and a crimson red Subaru Forester .

The police officers suspected of stealing Sh72 million in Nairobi on Thursday morning designed a perfect heist only possible in movies, dramatic details pieced together by the Sunday Nation show.

It was heading to a weekend and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) needed to be refilled in the city, meaning there would be a lot of money to steal and share without firing a single shot.

But, as events in the last two days prove, the hardest part is not the actual stealing but spending such a huge amount of money while at the same time staying below the radar.

PR CRISIS

It is the rushed spending of the new found riches by some of the suspects and the huge amounts of cash they were allegedly carrying that is turning what could have easily passed as one of Kenya’s most perfectly executed robberies in recent times to one of the dumbest. By last evening, detectives from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit (SCPU) had arrested 11 people in connection with the robbery and recovered Sh7 million. 

On Monday morning the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is set to charge in court five more suspects.

Indications are the DCI will ask for more time to solve the puzzle and recover the balance of Sh65 million that is still missing. This is as G4S, which is contracted by several banks to maintain their ATMs and transport cash, tries to wriggle itself out of a public relations crisis. The security company has suffered repeated high-profile robberies, losing hundreds of millions of shillings.

Detectives from SCPU Saturday morning pounced on Administration Police constable Chris Machogu after trailing his mobile phone signal. He allegedly had Sh1,000 notes with consecutive serial numbers amounting to Sh3 million.

On being arrested, Mr Machogu led the detectives to Seko village in Kendu Bay, 36 kilometres away where they arrested Constable Wycliffe Owuor who had Sh3 million on him and a crimson red Subaru Forester registration number KCB 649Z. Like Mr Machogu, Mr Owuor’s Sh1,000 notes also had consecutive serial numbers.

CASH BOXES

“Detectives investigating the matter have established the suspect confirmed that the Subaru Forester was bought on the same day of the theft. The two suspects were planning to travel to Uganda with the cash,” said head of DCI George Kinoti. “They are in our custody awaiting arraignment.”

However, what led detectives to Kisii, more than 300 kilometres away from where the Sh72 million was stolen is the mobile phone communication between Constable Machogu and another police officer also linked to the heist but who was arrested on Friday evening in Kikuyu, Kiambu. In the era of mobile phone tracking, the masterminds of the heist who it is turning out were police officers simply forgot the one method that even they themselves use to track down suspected criminals. The arrest took place exactly 10 hours after a man reported to Kikuyu Police Station that he had stumbled upon broken cash boxes at the Thogoto forest as he headed to work.

On reaching the scene, the officers from Kikuyu Police Station discovered empty bags from Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, KCB and Barclays Bank. They also recovered a mobile phone, a SIM card with serial number 89254021104175661927 and a jacket belonging to G4S.

The officers immediately notified the SPCU who dispatched a team to the scene. Meanwhile, the number plate of the Toyota Voxy registration number KCE 920E that was captured by CCTV cameras at Nairobi West on the day of the heist had been circulated and the Flying Squad were searching for it.

PAINTED BLACK

Interestingly, while reporting the robbery a whole two hours after it had taken place despite the fact that Nairobi West Patrol Base is a stone’s throw away from the scene of crime, the G4S officers did not tell the police the colour of the vehicle that ferried the stolen cash. The white vehicle was on Friday evening impounded at Owino’s Garage on the Southern Bypass in Kikuyu town. It had been brought in at 9am the previous day and its owner, a tall dark man whom we have been told is a regular at the garage wanted it painted black.

“He even brought his own paint,” one of the mechanics at the garage told the Sunday Nation.

Apart from a new paint job, the owner of the vehicle wanted its entertainment system ripped off and a new one installed. He wanted a new radio, sub-woofers and TV monitors to the tune of almost Sh200,000. This job was given to True Quality Sound Systems, which is also on the Southern Bypass.

“He called my husband in the morning giving the specifications of what he wanted. I even saw him at the shop but I did not give him a lot of thought,” said Naomi Mwikali, who co-owns True Quality Sound Systems with her husband, Mr Patrick Kagaba.

“Up to now we don’t even know where Patrick was taken to and the police don’t want to tell us which police station he is in,” said Ms Mwikali as she held onto their two-month old baby.

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