Your lost phone could be among the over 230 hand sets in the hands of law enforcers in Nairobi after a crackdown on Thursday evening saw several stolen item dealers arrested from thug stalls along Mfangano Street in Nairobi.
In the evening hours, the device grabbers,who loiter around ‘mobile phone repair’ stalls on major city streets, are fond of tapping passers asking whether they’d be interested in purchasing the stolen items.
On a visit to the phone repair shop, now closed after the crackdown, one is approached by the youngsters who courageously offer a variety of phones at any available amount. The shops are numerous and all have a network in town through which they have perfected the broad daylight mugging act.
On Thursday evening, police impounded 230 phones, 15 laptops, 12 tablets, 10 cameras and other electronics such as desktop computers. The thug network is well endowed with software which they use to hard-reset (flash) phones and are able to do anything just to make sure the devices lose all the rightful owner’s data and get a new look.
In an operation marked as part of the push to contain the crime surge in the Nairobi CBD, Central Police Station OCPD Robinson Thuku says his officers raided the stalls following a tip off from members of the public that some stalls along Mfangano Street were handling stolen electronics as laptops and mobile phones.
“Some of the stalls owners closed and fled when they heard of the operation. It is part of the team tasked with containing the crime surge we raided at least three shops handling stolen electronics,” said Thuku.
According to the Central Police Station Criminal investigations officer Kiberenge Seroney, the operation led by an anti-mugging squad formed in January in conjunction with the Nairobi County Government would continue in the city until they flush out criminals and appealed the public to provide more information to the authorities.
The officers asked members of the public who have lost such valuables to visit the police station and collect them.
However, critics say the problem is unlikely to be solved until Governor Mike Sonko ends the hawkers and street children menace in the city.