Suzanne Wanjue Nyaga was tapped on the shoulder from behind by a stranger after leaving Cooperative Bank in Changamwe.
She instantly lost consciousness, only to wake up a few minutes later, sitting under a flyover a few metres from where the incident happened, surrounded by two women; a third one joined them later. Ms Nyaga had no memory of how she ended up there.
It all started at noon when Ms Nyaga, a businesswoman, went to deposit Sh50,000 at the Changamwe branch of the bank on September 4.
After depositing the money, she left the premises and headed towards the bus stage, where she planned to board a matatu to Mombasa town to purchase stock for her business.
As she walked towards the stage, she felt a tap on her shoulder.
Turning around, she saw an unfamiliar woman.
Initially, she ignored the stranger and continued walking towards the stage, but the stranger tapped her shoulder once again.
Deciding to address the situation, Ms Nyaga asked the stranger if there was something wrong.
The woman responded by informing her that someone had just stolen a wallet containing a significant amount of money.
She suggested that Ms Nyaga join her so they could share the money together.
Ms Nyaga promptly dismissed the stranger's proposition, expressing her lack of interest in sharing the money. Little did she know that engaging with this stubborn stranger for those few minutes would prove to be a costly mistake, as shortly afterwards, she lost consciousness.
When she came to, she was seated under the flyover, surrounded by two women. One of them was the same woman who had tapped her shoulder at the bus stage.
Within minutes, they were joined by a third woman who accused Ms Nyaga and the other two women of stealing her money.
She then said she would search them.
When the search concluded, the third woman determined that none of them had stolen the money.
However, she decided to check their mobile phones to ensure that the three women had not deposited or transferred the money to their M-Pesa accounts or elsewhere.
At first, Ms Nyaga refused to have her M-Pesa account inspected, but the third woman brandished what appeared to be a pistol and threatened her.
Left with no alternative and concerned for her safety, Ms Nyaga handed over her phone. The third woman dialled the phone and then vanished into thin air, leaving Ms Nyaga with the other two women.
One of the two women took a gadget that looked like a phone, wrapped it together with Sh6,000 in a piece of cloth, and instructed Ms Nyaga to return to the place where they initially met near the bank.
Following this conversation, Ms Nyaga would later find herself in a tuktuk in the saba saba area, approximately six kilometres from Changamwe.
When she asked the driver how she got there, he informed her that the woman she was with in Changamwe had paid him to drop her off at the Coast bus stage.
Ms Nyaga then requested that the driver take her to a shop in Mombasa town.
There, she unfolded the piece of cloth given to her by the women, only to discover a collection of brown envelopes bound by a rubber band and her phone missing.
She explained the situation to the shopkeeper, who advised her to report the incident to Safaricom customer care in order to block unauthorised access to her SIM card.
At Safaricom customer care, she was informed that a total of Sh350,000 had been transferred from her M-Pesa account to various mobile phone numbers.
To her surprise, an additional transfer of Sh50,000 had been transferred from her Cooperative Bank account to various numbers. Ms Nyaga reported the incident at Changamwe police station.
On September 20, police received a tip about a suspicious black vehicle parked at Akamba Handcrafts in Changamwe. Upon arrival, they discovered the black vehicle occupied by four women and one man.
The police identified themselves and requested that the occupants accompany them to the station for questioning. A search of the vehicle yielded a collection of empty brown envelopes secured by a rubber band, along with a Sh1,000 note, ATM card and a phone.
The police suspect that these envelopes are being used to deceive the public, who then end up being robbed of their belongings.
Following an interrogation and recovery operation, the police arrested Ms Zaituni Monyani, Ms Traezia Anyango, Ms Diana Akoth, and Mr Juma Ibrahim Omar. On Thursday, the four were brought before the Mombasa Court on suspicion of being responsible for Ms Nyaga's troubles.
They have been charged with offences such as stealing, preparing to commit a felony, unauthorised access to a mobile phone with the intention to commit a felony, and robbery with violence.
Ms Monyani, Ms Anyango, and Ms Akoth have been accused of violently robbing Ms Nyaga of her mobile phone valued at Sh18,800 and cash amounting to Sh6,000. Additionally, the three women have been charged with unauthorised access to a mobile phone, contrary to the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act of 2018.
They allegedly gained unlawful access to Ms Nyaga's phone and stole Sh350,000 by transferring the funds to various numbers.
All the four suspects denied the charges when appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku.
Mr Omar claimed that he was only hired as a driver by the women and had no knowledge of their involvement in the robbery.
“I know nothing about this robbery and theft charges I am facing. I was only hired as a driver, I did not take part in the robbery. I am not even aware these women had robbed the complainant,” he lamented.
The three women were released on a bond of Sh300,000 each while Mr Omar was granted a cash bail of Sh100,000.
The women claimed they had travelled from Kisumu and Nairobi and met inside a black vehicle at Akamba Handcraft in Mombasa before their alleged arrest, and that they were apprehended while in this vehicle.
Ms Monyani was allegedly supposed to show them how to conduct a business.
A fourth suspect, Ruth Auma, was released as she had a sick child and was ordered to report back to the station the following day. However, she did not comply with the order and has never returned to the station.
The owners of the ATM card and phone were traced and found to be victims of a similar robbery that occurred in Nairobi early this month.