An attempt to rob a bank in Githurai was foiled raising concerns over similar attempts that have been reported in Kiambu County.
A suspicious resident is reported to have noticed some digging on the second floor of the building housing the Co-operative bank on Sunday and alerted the bank's manager who then informed the police.
According to the police, the suspects, who are still at large — tried to break into the bank by drilling a hole through the wall of the building — works that police suspect begun on Saturday night. Ruiru police commander James Ng'etich said that two security guards who were supposed to be on duty at the time were being held at Ruiru police station for questioning as investigations into the attempted robbery gathered momentum. The two, 32-year-old Richard Amboya and 30-year-old John Mukanya, work for a local security firm.
Yesterday afternoon, Mr Ng'etich told Nation that no other suspect had been arrested in connection to the incident but police had recorded several statements from people considered to be of interest.
What is puzzling is the rising number of cases of bank heists reported in Kiambu County.
On November 20 last year, Kenyans woke up to the news of over Sh50 million having been stolen from the Kenya Commercial bank (KCB) Thika town branch by young men who had entered the bank through an underground tunnel.
The robbery that was been described as thoughtfully planned and very well executed, owing to the premises proximity to Thika police divisional headquarters, marked the beginning of a series of bank robberies that have hit the county in recent months.
Later in April, Mr Vincent Murerwa Munene, 27, broke into Equity-Thika Plaza through the roof of an adjacent building.
He was alone when he entered the bank by cutting some window grills using a hacksaw, but before he could steal, his movements were detected by security systems and an alert was sent to officers at Thika police station who arrested him inside the banking hall.
In July, Sh20 million was stolen from Family Bank-Ruiru branch, in a heist that was later confirmed to be an inside job. The bank’s fire alarm and security systems had been vandalised in the robbery. Mr Ng’etich said the robbers are targeting banks that appear vulnerable.
“A bank robber isn't someone who wakes up and gets into action. He must sit down and plan much as it's a probability game. It takes time for one to happen and they target banks that seem to have some vulnerability in their security systems,” said the police boss.
Experts who spoke to Nation agreed that the state of the economy, unemployment and a lack of role models/proper values were some of the factors behind the increased crime in the area.
"When financial demands go up, some people fail to adjust to the increased demands and end up getting lured into easy money. This then leads to a rise in crime," said Mr Dola Magani, a lawyer.
Dr Susan Gitau, a psychologist, said several factors including economic constraints resulting from frustrations caused by high unemployment rates and a wide skills gap between what is offered in school versus market demands, moral degradation and lack of role models, are some of the probable causes of the rise in such crimes.