, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – Detectives have intensified investigations to establish how burglars managed to know where the Kenya Commercial Bank Thika branch strongroom was located and who could have been involved.
The thugs who stole Sh50 million used a 30-metre tunnel to access the bank, which is located at the junction Kenyatta Highway and Uhuru Street within the industrious town.
“According to how this crime was executed, it is obvious that many people were involved,” a senior detective privy to the ongoing probe told Capital FM News.
According to the officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, the thugs must have had the building plan of the bank to know the exact location of the vault.
The drilling, according to police started after the traders rented stalls near the bank in June.
“They packaged the sand in cartons and sacks, which they loaded into a vehicle. They gave the impression that the cartons and sacks contained textbooks. Traders occupying other stalls had not detected the tunnel, neither did officers whose station is 150 metres away from the building,” Kiambu County Commander Adel Nyange said.
Three people have since been questioned – the custodian of the keys for the stalls and the building’s agent and an employee of a phone repair shop.
“Those who rented the stalls are at large. They are the main culprits. Investigations will reveal whether it was an inside job but as of now, we cannot rule out anything,” the police boss said.
– The tunnel –
The entry of the tunnel is 10 feet deep according to detectives before one gets to a 30 metres stretch, which exits at the bank’s strong room.
From the stalls, the 30 metre stretch had been reinforced with timber, to ensure it doesn’t crumble.
The tunnel passes through the bank’s parking lot, which is behind the main entry.
“The tunnel could have crumbled were it not for the reinforcement because vehicles, including heavy ones, have been parked here,” the officer said.
Outside the Kenya Commercial Bank Thika branch, a signboard reads, “These premises are under 24-hour CCTV surveillance.”
It is not established whether police have retrieved any CCTV footage from the bank and if so, whether it has provided leads in the ongoing probe.
– Similar robbery –
In Fortaleza, Brazil, 2005, thugs stole $70 million (Sh700 million). They had rented a commercial property in the middle of the city and posed as landscapers.
Then, over a weekend in August, they tunnelled up through the reinforced concrete into the vault of the Banco Central branch and managed to remove the cash.
They spent three months digging a 256-foot tunnel to a position beneath the bank.
– What we know about Thika –
The thugs dug a tunnel from inside a stall, which is located opposition Thika Divisional Police Headquarters.
The branch manager Samwel Nga’ng’a discovered on Monday morning that the money was missing.
The activities of the thugs, who are yet not known, remained unsuspicious, all along.