Alarm as gang steals Sh700,000 coffee from Murang’a factory
More than 30 bags of coffee worth over Sh700,000 were stolen from Gachirago coffee factory in Murang’a County by a 12-man gang Tuesday night.
According to Jackson Gathito, a watchman at the factory, the gang broke into the factory and ambushed the factory watchmen as they patrolled before tying them and proceeding with the theft.
They then broke into the factory’s stores and made away with coffee that they packed in gunny bags and loaded onto a lorry that they used to get away.
Gathito added that members of the gang had taken away their flashlights, whistles and mobile phones, leaving them helpless.
Confirming the incident, Kiharu District Officer Edward Lelgo said that three out of five night guards were on duty on the night the factory was attacked, adding that the same gang had tried to break into Wathenge coffee factory, which is less than three kilometers from Gachirago Factory, but security officers responded immediately alarm was raised.
The residents, who had gathered at the factory, expressed suspicion that the theft was an inside job, but Lelgo said it was too early to speculate and added that investigations have already been launched to find out who was involved.
The administrator further urged members of the public to give any information that could help the police with their investigations.
He decried the reemerging cases of coffee theft in the area, saying authorities are putting in place the right measures to protect farmers’ products by enhancing patrols, but noted that the factories need to deploy more watchmen.
“I ask all the coffee factories to employ enough security persons especially when the coffee is ready for drying, I will be liaising with security organs to provide security at the factory around the clock,” he added.
On his part, Kamacharia Member of County assembly Joseph Machiri noted that this was the second coffee theft reported in less than a week after thieves made away with 28 bags worth Sh600,000 at Wanjengi coffee factory in Kahuro sub county.
Machiri added that the county has been hit by numerous coffee thefts, thus urged the management of coffee factories to employ qualified people as security officers for their factories.
He further urged factories to start insuring the coffee as a matter of urgency, saying farmers have been incurring losses because of the coffee theft.
Last year, coffee worth Sh900 million was stolen from various factories within the county.
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