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Hunt on for gang stealing from patients in Nyeri

Wednesday January 2 2019

CRIME

Patients wait to be attended to at Nyeri County Referral Hospital. There is a gang stealing from patients at the facility. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NICHOLAS KOMU
By NICHOLAS KOMU
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Police are hunting a gang that has been robbing patients at Nyeri County Referral Hospital.

The officers are holding a man believed to be a member of the gang that has been stealing from the sick at the hospital's outpatient department.

“It seems even the sick are not safe in Nyeri. This is a very serious matter that we need to tackle immediately,” police boss Ali Nuno told the Nation.

The suspect, whose name has been withheld by police, was arrested last week over the mugging of a female patient at the hospital.

SUSPECTS

The robbery was captured on surveillance cameras, which police used to identify five other suspects.

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According to police, the gang ambushed the victim at the outpatient section of the largest health facility in Central region and robbed her of a laptop, phone and money.

Police have said the suspect is cooperating to help identify the remaining gang members believed to have been involved in other theft cases at the hospital.

Surveillance footage in possession of police shows that more cases could be unearthed even though they were not officially reported to police.

Undertones from the hospital have been in circulation over cases of theft, prompting police to widen their net in an ongoing operation against crime in Nyeri.

“We are pursuing the other five suspects and anybody else who is involved in this. The one in custody will be taken to court,” the police boss said.

BABY

The suspect in custody was among 100 convicts released from Nyeri Medium Prison on probation a week ago. The inmates were released as part of a decongestion programme.

Detectives have also launched investigations into the theft of babies inside the hospital after a woman was arrested and a baby she had allegedly stolen rescued last week. She was arrested in Naromoru.

Police records indicate that the woman is believed to have taken the infant from the biological mother at the referral hospital a few days ago.

A surveillance footage showed the woman leaving the facility with the baby on her back alongside the biological mother.

Detectives believe she had duped the mother that she was helping her carry the baby after being discharged from the maternity wing.

The woman later disappeared, prompting the family to report the matter to the authorities.

TRACK

Detectives launched a manhunt for the woman by tracking her phone which at the time indicated she was travelling towards Nairobi.

It was later discovered that the woman had left the phone in a Nairobi-bound vehicle in what is seen as a deliberate attempt to throw police off track.

The decoy phone was later recovered by police who used it track down the woman’s husband.

“We laid an ambush for the woman and she agreed to meet the husband with the baby. That is when we arrested her,” a source privy to the case said.

It also claimed that the same woman had earlier stolen another baby who later died while under her care.

The case is pending in court but the Nation has learned that other similar cases are being looked into at the health facility.