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Police gun down suspected Sh72m heist mastermind

Wednesday March 25 2020

Gun

Police on March 24, 2020 gunned down a man suspected to have been behind the theft of Sh72 million from a Standard Chartered Bank ATM in Nairobi West in 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION REPORTER
By NATION REPORTER
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Police have gunned down a man believed to have masterminded last year’s Sh72 million Nairobi West ATM heist that saw several police officers and a KDF soldier arrested.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said Wycliffe Vincent Oduor was gunned down on Tuesday evening during a fierce shootout at Kayole junction in Nairobi.

In a statement, the DCI said that police officers confronted a gang of three robbery with violence suspect after distress calls from the public.

“Armed with pistols and riding on a motorbike, the three started robbing members of public at the said location,” the DCI statement read.

ATTEMPTED TO FLEE

Police on patrol were attracted to the scene and upon calls to surrender, the gang attempted to flee and started engaging officers in a fierce shootout that lasted for several minutes.

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“The fire exchange left the said suspect (Wycliffe) down. The other two escaped on the motorbike but are being pursued,” DCI stated, adding that police recovered a pistol and a kitchen knife from the slain suspect.

The suspect, who was commonly known as Vinii, was out on a Sh500,000 bond after arraignment following last year’s robbery at the Standard Chartered ATM.

SUSPECTS

After the robbery, Administration Police officers Florence Wanjiru Karuku, Simon Gichuhi Karuku and his wife AP Caroline Njeri Waithira were arrested.

A KDF officer, Eunice Wangari Karuku, who was based at the Kahawa Barracks, was also arrested and interrogated.

Several other security guards working for G4S company were arrested in different parts of the country and millions of shillings recovered.

What baffled detectives was the manner in which tens of people were able to learn about the loot and actually benefitted from it, even rushing to spend it. Some of the money was recovered in cowsheds and huts in rural homes.

MONEY IN COWSHED

G4S employee Bernard Sewanga was arrested at his father-in-law’s homestead in Lurambi where the money was found buried in a black bag in a cowshed.

Another Sh2.3 million was recovered in Machakos at the home of an elderly woman in Kalumoni village. Here, John Kamau Mulei was arrested.

A total of 32 people were arrested and questioned, out of which 16 were arraigned in connection to the robbery.

The DCI incorporated the efforts of the disbanded Flying Squad and the Special Crimes Prevention Unit in the efforts to recover the money and the arrest of the entire gang.

It was one suspect, Chris Machogu, who led detectives to the home of Wycliffe Vincent Oduor in Seko village in Kendu Bay, after he was arrested in Kisii.

Police found Oduor with Sh3 million in cash, and a newly purchased crimson red Subaru Forester car registration number KCB 649Z. The two suspects were planning to flee to Uganda when they were arrested, police said.

The heist took place moments after G4S had collected money from their headquarters on Witu Road and taken it to StanChart’s Nairobi West branch.

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