The Star (Nairobi)

8 June 2012

Kenya: Cops Impound 104 Bags of Stolen Coffee Worth Sh2 Million

Five suspects were arrested in connection with the theft of parchment coffee valued Sh2.6m. Police acting on a tip off pounced on the suspects at a residential house in Gatuanyaga area of Thika West district and recovered 104 bags of coffee which was being repackaged for transit to an known destination.

Thika divisional Deputy OCPD Caleb Wesa told reporters that the suspects were arrested as they were preparing to repack the coffee believed to have been stolen from Tala area of Machakos County. The owner of the house was among those arrested. A water pump and a glider used to cut metal were also recovered from the scene.

Police are also looking for a lorry used to transport the coffee packed in gunny bags. Wesa thanked members of the public for collaborating with the police to unearth criminals and said the spirit of community policing is bearing fruit. He called on management of cooperative societies to put more emphasis on security for the commodity and advised them to avoid employment of incompetent guards and instead hire professional firms or the police to guard their premises.

Theft of coffee has been rampant in Thika, Gatundu, Gatanga and Kandara districts lately leading to huge losses by farmers. In another incident, Kangocho Coffee Factory in Mathira East district has lost parchment coffee worth Sh 2 million. About 15 coffee bags were stolen from the drying tables after armed thugs cut a factory fence on Wednesday night. 10 bags were recovered later.

Area police boss Rashid Mohammed said that two watchmen guarding the facility were on routine patrol when they spotted some men ferrying coffee from the drying tables and raised an alarm. On sensing danger, the thugs escaped in a Nissan matatu leaving behind 10 bags. Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

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