Coffee theft in various factories at Gatundu South in Kiambu County intensified yesterday after robbers killed a watchman manning a private coffee miller at Gathunguri village.
According to police, the incident that was reported by Henry Kanyonyo, the proprietor of the miller saw a number of thieves invade the factory store when they subdued two watchmen who were guarding it.
In the process, Peter Nduiri, one of the guards was tied with a rope on both hands and legs and later tied with a cloth on the head and mouth which is suspected to have suffocated him to death.
“George Ogeto, the other guard sustained injuries on the forehead and legs. He was rushed to Gatundu level five hospital where he is admitted and in stable condition,” detectives said yesterday.
After successfully overcoming the guards, the thieves then drilled a hole behind the store and stole 30 bags of coffee parchment valued at 0.9 million.
Confirming the incident, the sub county police commander Sylvester Githungo said Nduiri’s body had been moved to Gatundu level five hospital mortuary pending autopsy.
“We are investigating the incident to establish who the criminals are and where they took the coffee produce,” said Githungo.
The incident happened days after farmers from Gitwe Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited in the same constituency protested losses after their produce worth millions of shillings was stolen in mysterious circumstances.
Approximately 100 bags of parchment coffee whose worth was estimated to be between Sh 2-3 million are said to have been removed from the factory’s stores in January this year.
They regretted that the theft happened despite a high presence of security guards and sniffer dogs that have been manning the premises day and night.
They decried that even as the government moves to streamline the sector to increase returns for poor coffee farmers, robbers are not sleeping seeking the best means of reaping where they did not sow.
The farmers regretted that the escalating robbery is not only threatening their livelihoods but also international brands that may be re-selling stolen coffee without knowing.
Police are now advising factory managers to install CCTV cameras, sniffer dogs, enough security guards and fence their warehouses to avert burglary incidents.
“We are also urging our people to volunteer information regarding any criminal activity to help us bring the culprits to book,” said Githungo.