Fifty-one bags of coffee were stolen from Ndia-ini Factory in Nyeri in a daring morning raid on Monday.
And the thieves had enough time to make a meal of rice and chicken.
In a bizarre twist, it emerged that Mukurwe-ini police were receiving Sh27,000 every month to guard the factory and patrol the area.
The stolen coffee was estimated to be worth Sh10 million. Thirty nine chickens, a computer, 20 bags of fertiliser, chemicals valued at Sh91,000 and Sh5,000 were also taken.
Mukurwe-ini OCPD Johnson Muli disputed the figure given by farmers, saying “only” 35 bags of coffee and three chickens were stolen.
After emptying the stores and coffee beds, the thieves slaughtered and cooked the birds and made rice.
Witnesses said the gang of more than 30 detained the five guards in a room during the 4am robbery.
Factory chairman Moses Mogwe said the theft must have been an inside job.
“One of the gang members repeatedly said he would release the coffee if he was given money,” he said.
The coffee was to be taken to Thunguri Factory for milling at the end of the month.
Thunguri and Ndia-ini are part of Rumukia Coffee Society, which has six other factories.
Monday was second incident of coffee theft from the society this year. Beans valued at Sh20 million were stolen from Tambaya Factory.
More than 340 bags of coffee have been stolen in Nyeri alone but 200 were recovered.
Mr Timothy Ndegwa, a farmer, said he caught a glimpse of the lorry that was used to transport the stolen coffee but did not see its full registration number.
“The gang was in a white and blue lorry which was driven away when farmers began assembling near the factory,” Mr Ndegwa said.
The farmers now want the government to compensate them.
“We have an insurer but the company takes long to compensate us,” Mr Mogwe said.
The factory chairman and coffee growers also turned the heat on the police.
“We pay them and the least they can do is patrol,” he said.
Some farmers said the recurring thefts at the two factories were a result of infighting.
“Four members want to split the society to taint the image of the management,” Mr Richard Wanjohi said.
The other factories that deliver beans to Rumukia Coffee Society are Gatura, Kagunyo, Maganjo, Kiawamururu and Gikundo in Mukurwe-ini.
The gang was said to be armed with a pistol.
“The watchmen have been taken to the police station as we investigate the matter,” Mr Muli said.