Two robbery suspects were cornered by the public in Narok town moments after they had drugged M-Pesa shop operators and stolen Sh400,000.
The two were caught in the act and had to lock themselves inside one of the shops as people bayed for their blood.
Mr John Maina, a relative of Ms Margaret Mantaine, one of the victims, said he was outside her shop when he sensed something was amiss.
When he peeped inside the shop, he saw Ms Mantaine looking dizzy as the duo emptied the cash box.
“When I entered the shop, I found her confused, dizzy, weak and her vision was blurry. I realised all was not well and raised the alarm as I battled the two men,” said Maina, who added that they stole Sh200,000. The money was later recovered.
It was not immediately clear how they drugged their victims, but it was suspected they blew the drug into their faces and it took effect immediately.
A witness, Mr Charles Gucha, said the two entered the shop posing as customers.
“They tried to escape but we pelted them with stones, making them hide inside,” said Mr Gucha.
Police shot in the air to disperse the crowd before they apprehended the suspects and took them to the Narok Police Station.
The Thursday 5pm drama happened two hours after another gang comprising four women stole Sh200,000 from the owner of a boutique.
Mr Joseph Punyua said the owner of the shop dozed off, only to be awakened by a neighbour moments later. She found the money missing.
In the three incidents, it is suspected that the criminals used the drug Scopolamine, also known as “Devil's Breath”.
The drug is blown into victims’ faces or sprayed on a business card before it is given to a would-be victim.
The use of the drug to rob traders is the latest crime trick to hit Narok town.
The anti-nauseant drug is medically used for motion sickness. But criminals have turned to it to rob the public.
“You can give out your ATM PIN and card, the money in your pockets/purse and M-Pesa transfer details without being coerced.
Once they immobilise you, the criminals will tell you to do anything and you find yourself doing it without fighting back. Later when you recover from its effects, you will have no memory of what happened,” said Mr Joseph ole Nkamasiai, a doctor at Narok County Referral Hospital.
Residents have also raised the alarm over use of sedatives by criminals before breaking into houses at night.
Mr Joseph Ongwae, who lives in Total Estate, says the trend is worrying, with residents petitioning the authorities to step up the hunt for the criminals.
“We want the police to investigate claims that criminals are now using anaesthetic drugs to sedate residents,” he said.
Other estates in Narok experiencing a surge in crime are Landon, Lenana, Total and Mwamba.
The business community, led by the region’s chamber of commerce and industry chairman David Mbatiany, called on police to beef up security in the area, adding that if the trend continues, they will close their businesses for a week and take to the streets.
County police commander Adan Yunis said he was aware of the incidents and promised to work round the clock to eliminate the gang.
Mr Yunis said police had arrested 15 suspects in the past six days and two had been lynched at Total Estate after they were found breaking into houses in broad daylight.
Mr Yunis said he had formed a security team to deal with the matter and called on locals to volunteer any leads that could help in the arrest of the criminals.
“We have several suspects in custody who were found with stolen property. Police are carrying out more investigations,” said Mr Yunis.