Nairobi is a hotbed of pickpockets: Notorious routes


Beware Pickpockets

Yusuf Abdi is the guy who gets me all my clothes. There’s this fancy girl from Nyeri (this one is harmless) I have been pursuing for four years that father once asked me ‘’is it a college degree or what?’’ I got offended, and decided to launch what I’d call the final assault. I had informed Yusuf of my intentions to take her out for a proposal soon, and I needed to look different. He reached for the shelves, and got me a stunning nice official white shirt and told me that that would work. I liked it instantly, paid him Ksh 3,300 for it and left. Four days later, I proposed to this Nyeri’s finest at a colorful ceremony attended by among others, myself. I am still single. I haven’t worn the shirt for one year now. My uncles promised to come to exorcise the shirt so as not to bring misfortune to the clan.

Lady Justice is my cleaning lady who comes to serve justice to all my clothes and clean my house every Friday. She had travelled to Kisii for three weeks, and I had exhausted all my official shirts. My uncles never came. So I was forced to wear this jinxed shirt before they arrived. I took off from the house to town from where I was to hike another bus from Kencom to my Kilimani office, where I spend most times looking for money to donate to my landlady. I sat next to what I assumed was a major sponsor of the government through his taxes. No sooner had we taken off, than I caught his hands inside my pockets. Though I weigh 87kgs, the man has muscles that could feature as part of a stolen land somewhere. I couldn’t do anything, it’s like how my skinny friend James Mwangi’s hot girlfriend was spanked by a bouncer as they entered a club and he couldn’t do anything about it!

In his efforts to locate my pockets, his sweaty palms had stained my white shirt. I noticed my shoes had been stepped on, and the President was passing so we were stuck in traffic more than half an hour and my boss was calling. If I decided to text him I’ll be late and someone snatched the phone from outside, I would just have shouted ‘’Hit send!’’ instead of ‘’Catch that thief!’’ I kept wondering why all this was happening to me the day I decide to give my white shirt a second chance. We all need second chances don’t we? Had the thief been successful, he would have taken off with what reporters like to call ‘’an unknown amount of money.’’

It is when I looked around, that I noticed he wasn’t alone. There’s an invasion! And they are having a party while at it. Pickpockets have taken over the public transport vehicles in Nairobi, and they are trying to destabilize the Kenyan Shilling. Devising new strategies to rob unsuspecting often sleepy, hungry and absent-minded Kenyans, the men whose part-time job appears to be body-building, board the bus at the main terminus at Kencom. Their body size is meant to intimidate anyone who dares raise alarm after noticing their activities.

The first thing you will notice after their body size, is they all carry either an A4 size envelope, or a bag. They are not their birth certificates or secret ballots as I thought – but meant to conceal the movements of their hands as they make way through your pockets. This technique works so effectively because the hand nearest to their next passenger is always visible, and they manage to use the other hand to get anything they can get out of you as this guy tried on me. When he was asked for bus fare, he had quite a chunk of notes and for a moment I thought of giving him my proposal of chicken farming seeking his partnership. It was just a clever tactic by him to confuse me. To lose your suspicion and compliment their wayward ways, they do this for you to see and conclude it’s safe to be with them because they have big money. He went on to put them back in his pocket next to me so that he can remove them severally all the while always making contact with my pocket to feel my valuables and money. Always monitor the positions of your neighbour’s hands in a public matatu.



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