Three young men who have been stealing from traders’ shops have escaped being lynched alive after they were cornered by angry Gacugini residents at Gacugini Market in Tharaka North sub county, Tharaka Nithi.
Duncan Mutembei aged 22 years from Mukothima, Patrick Majira aged 23 also from Mukothima and Duncan Mutuura from Gacugini were nabbed at about 12pm around the locality when they had returned to pick shop items they had stolen from a shop last night using a motorbike.
According to residents and traders, they woke up to a broken shop belonging to a trader identified as Muchunku and footsteps of the suspected criminals led them to an homestead in the locality where some items including sugar and wheat flour were discovered.
As the charged residents were carrying out search, the three young men returned using a motorbike to pick the items but upon sensing danger they made a U-turn in an attempt to flee the mob by foot.
However their intelligence did not help as the mob swiftly moved in speed and apprehended them in blows and kicks of all manners turning them bloody.
After receiving through beating, the three admitted to have been involved in yester night theft in the market and another incidence where a shop belonging to peter Muindi was broken into at night two weeks ago and stole shop items ranging from tires,sugar,maize/wheat flour among others.
“I have been clobbered here at Gacugini after I stole some items last night including sugar, cooking oil, maize flour and others. The items I stole are hidden at that hill over there,’’ Duncan Mutembei said.
The mob who were baying for the blood of the criminals torched their motorbike as blows and kicks rained on them while officers from Nkondi police post tried to protect the criminals from being lynched.
The gang revealed that there is another team member from Iriani in Mukothima who operates with them and immediately they were loaded in a police land cruiser from Marimanti police station and escorted by residents riding in motorbikes, they raided the said suspect’s house to continue the search operation.
Douglas Muthengi aged 23 was busted by the search team at his house in Iriani and a 20 litres of cooking oil suspected to be among those stolen at Gacugini two weeks ago recovered.
He denied being involved in any way with the theft but the charged mob could not hear him and was loaded in the police land cruiser joining his gang and police accompanied by the residents headed to Mukothima market to a house belonging to one Gakii who is said to be the owner of the motorcycle used by the three.
Gakii said she had sent Duncan Mutembei in the morning to have her motorbike repaired at the market having instructed him to return in time for other business but he did not return until she got news that her motorbike had been torched at Gachugini.
“I got an accident last evening with the burnt motorbike and so in the morning I sent him to have it repaired, then return to carry out other business. I have waited for his return since morning until I have been informed that my motorbike has been burnt down at Gacugini,’’ Gakii explained.
Residents at Mukothima market complained that their shops too have are always broken at night via rooftops and their shop items stolen with the criminals fleeing unnoticed.
They issued stern warning to the remaining criminals who may be terrorizing residents that the search will continue to apprehend them.
The four have since been locked at Marimanti police station pending court arraignment.