Police unearth motorbikes theft syndicate, arrest two suspects

The recovered motorbikes that were stolen in Nairobi at Isiolo Police Station on June 10, 2022

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

Two people were arrested as police unearthed a motorcycle theft cartel and confiscated a number of the bikes on transit to Moyale.

A Marsabit bound truck was intercepted along Isiolo-Moyale road on Friday and on inspection at Isiolo Police Station, four motorbikes, two of them dismantled and packed in cartons were recovered concealed in other goods.

The recovery followed intelligence reports that a truck from Nairobi was ferrying stolen motorbikes.

Isiolo County Police Commander Hassan Barua said the suspects, a driver and his conductor, were taken to Nairobi to assist in investigations including establishing the owners of three motorbikes.

“We are investigating the matter as we seek to arrest all those in the syndicate,” Mr Barua told the Nation.

One of the motorbikes, a red Boxer had been stolen from Eastleigh, Nairobi, a week earlier.

But how was the motorbike traced?

Four days after it was bought from a dealer on hire purchase terms on June 4, the motorbike’s tracker was disconnected, raising suspicion and forcing the company to launch recovery efforts.

The motorbike’s last signal was traced near one of the garages in Eastleigh where Moyale buses and trucks load goods before embarking on the long journey.

It was then that investigators suspected the bike could have been destined for Moyale and tracking of vehicles headed in the direction started.

Two trucks moving at a speed of between 10 and 50 kilometres and making many stops were identified at Chaka Ranch in Nyeri and the Isiolo security team immediately put them on alert.

Hi-Line Motors Limited CEO Maurice Nyangao, who was part of the team involved in the tracking, said the two trucks took eight hours to arrive in Isiolo from Chaka, a distance that ordinarily takes three hours.

Lamenting the surge in the cases especially in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kitale, Mr Nyangao said ending organized crime required joint efforts from all players including the public.

“Our working together with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the police has helped reduce the cases and bring the suspects to book,” he said.

He said the criminals were using boda boda riders to defraud companies of the crucial assets by asking them to buy on loan motorbikes and pick from the dealers on their behalf after which they are paid between Sh3000 and Sh5000.

Under the circumstances, the operator makes a down payment in his name as if he was the one buying the motorbike.

“They (criminals) approach unemployed youths and tell them they lack crucial documents. They then ask them to process payment and pick the bikes on their behalf and promise to give them money to clear the arrears,” he revealed.

After receiving the brand new motorbikes that retail at about Sh150, 000, the criminals then collude with transporters to ferry them to Moyale after which they are later sold in neighbouring Ethiopia for as low as Sh50, 000.

The criminals then cut off communication and go missing, leaving the boda boda operators to shoulder the burden of clearing the arrears for a motorbike they do not own and whose location they are not aware.

Nearly a month ago, a suspect was arrested in Isiolo with a motorbike stolen in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu but was reportedly released unconditionally following interference by some of the politicians.
Mr Nyangao said police should be firm enough not to give in to intimidations by politicians, a trend, he said, was common in Northern Kenya counties.

“We are asking our youths to be wary of such schemes as they could land in trouble with the law if arrested,” he appealed.