Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 61 phones have been recovered in a crackdown on suspected phone snatchers in Nakawa Division, Kampala. The operation was conducted by Kiwatule Police Station after a confession of a suspected phone snatcher that led police to his accomplices.
The suspected criminal, identified as Hassan Okello alias Bob Cow was arrested on Friday after mugging a pedestrian and stealing his phone. During interrogation, he told police that he and his other colleagues have been stealing and selling phones for more than a year.
Bob Cow led police to the slums of Wabiduku, Kasenyi, Balintuma zone and Kiwatule parish, all in Nakawa division, where they had a ready market for the stolen phones. A subsequent search led to the recovery of 61 mobile phones.
Among them was an Infinix smart phone that had been stolen from Ibra Frank, the victim whose mugging led to the arrest of the suspect. Police also arrest other suspects, identified as Geoffrey Nisima-Kamugisha also known as Rasta Bubanda, Eria Mutyaba alias Yakuza and Shafic Mutebi, an alleged buyer of stolen phones.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango says that the Police is considering charges of robbery charges and being in possession of suspected stolen items against the suspects.
Police said the suspects might be slapped with other charges such as aggravated robbery if victims of recovered stolen phones come up with evidence that rudimentary weapons were used during the group’s attack.
Nakawa Division Mayor Ronald Balimwezo Nsubuga has repeatedly blamed crimes in his jurisdiction to parental negligence. He accuses parents of letting children grow up aimlessly, only to be swayed by criminal gangs.
Police records indicate that there were 6,205 cases of mobile phone thefts in 2018. This translates into 17 mobile phones being stolen every day. The figures also reflected 1a per cent increase compared 6,117 cases of the ear 2017.
Investigators took 2085 cases to court, out of which 730 cases secured convictions, 30 suspects were acquitted, while 380 cases were dismissed for lack of evidence and absence of complainants. 940 cases are still pending in the courts.