What you need to know:
- The boy, who hails from a humble family in Gaigongoni village, Tharaka, has been envying his peers, who look ‘smart’ in decent clothes.
- Ms Chepngeno told journalists they suspected foul play and sent the boy Sh1,500 on M-Pesa through his brother.
He had it all figured out — from the kidnap site to the ransom. It was supposed to be the perfect plan, but it was not.
Fuelled by a desire for money and new clothes, the 14-year-old staged-managed his own kidnapping in order to claim ransom from his relatives.
The Form Three student from Tharaka Nithi County claimed criminals were holding him inside Mount Kenya Forest and were demanding Sh20,000 to release him.
The boy, who hails from a humble family in Tharaka, has been envying his peers, who look ‘smart’ in decent clothes.
Last Tuesday as he went back to school, he plotted to fake kidnapping on arrival in Nkubu town so that his relatives could send him the money he needed.
Called his brother
The teenager chose a quiet spot and called his brother informing him that two bodaboda riders were holding him hostage inside a forest and were demanding ransom to release him, or else they would kill him.
The shocked brother reported the matter to Tunyai Police Post. The county Criminal Investigations Officer Betty Chepngeno was immediately informed and a search launched to rescue the boy.
Found on the streets
After an unsuccessful day’s search, Ms Chepngeno sought reinforcement from the regional headquarters and later from Nairobi until Saturday midday when the boy was found on the streets of Nkubu town.
Ms Chepngeno told journalists they suspected foul play and sent the boy Sh1,500 on M-Pesa through his brother,. The latter immediately transferred the money to his M-Shwari account and then withdrew Sh1,400 that he used to buy a pair of jeans.
“We were able to locate the boy after he withdrew Sh1,400 from an M-Pesa agent,” the officer said.
The officer said that on interrogation, the remorseful boy revealed how he planned to stage -manage the kidnapping and what pushed him into the crime.
Night in lodging
She said the boy explained that he spent the first night in a lodging and paid Sh300. He sought accommodation from unknown people the second and third night and spent the fourth night in a house under construction.
The officers in consultation with the Meru School principal, his parents and Equity Bank and agreed to take him back to school.
Ms Chepngeno said they also agreed that the boy should not be charged in court but be counselled and supported to continue with education.
“I have agreed with the boy that my office will buy him all the clothes and shoes that he wanted to buy so that he can look good like his friends and concentrate on his education,” the officer said.
However, she warned youth against such crimes and urged parents and teachers to make children understand the financial ability of their families.