Business Booming on Stolen Laptops in Nairobi

Elove Poetry By Elove Poetry, 10th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/dswmark3/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Business

When my laptop was stolen a year ago, I embarked on an undercover investigative search for my laptop and unearthed the lucrative business that’s going on in the streets of Nairobi, Kenya…

Beware in the Streets

They trail their victims in cahoots like spies tailing a terrorism suspect in box formation, keeping their target inside the box, until it’s the right time to pounce on their prey.
‘Nairobbers’ (Nairobi robbers) rob with(out) violence anything they lay their eyes on and like, especially if that item is a phone or trendy jewellery, worse still a laptop.
Most shopping malls instruct shoppers not to leave anything valuable at the luggage bay, and this is where the thieves pick their victims from posing as shoppers. Also, at airports, travel booking offices and hotels and restaurants. But mostly laptops are the ones easy to steal.
Deductively, anyone with the laptop bag that’s slung over one shoulder is carrying a laptop.

After tailing the victim for long and the time is right for them to make their move, like lightning the sling is cut (beware the arm might too) and the laptop is gone. It changes hands like a volleyball ball.
The ‘Nairobbers’ thin into the thick pedestrian traffic to a waiting buyer, mostly computer techs, second-hand computer dealers and instant-cash loaners in cramped backstreet stalls. Even if the victim of ‘Nairobbery’ tries to follow them they can’t find them.

“They know the streets more than anyone else,” says Mwangi, one of the second-hand computer dealers on Tom Mboya Street. “It’s hard to trace them, as somebody is always waiting to buy the laptops,” he adds.
Mohammed, who buys second-hand electronics, says that he doesn’t care whether the item is stolen or not because many people go to him with their used wares to dispose, and it’s hard to tell who is genuine or not.
Others who buy these stolen laptops are computer technicians. They dismantle them and sell the parts, or just make the laptop untraceable. Instant-cash loaners, who offer instant loans on items like digital cameras, phones and laptops, also offer ready market.
“If somebody wants a loan on his phone or laptop, or anything else he offers, I give them the money I assess their item to be worth,” says Grace Njeri, an instant-loan casher on Ronald Ngala Street.
Grace says that what she requires from those who want the loan is their identity card, nothing more. Thus, anyone with a stolen item can dispose of it by getting a loan on it, default to pay and the loan shark sells the item to recover his/her money.
Business men and women have formed cartels with street gangs of buying and selling stolen laptops in the guise of genuine second-hand computer sales business.
Those with the latest smartphones don’t brandish them in the streets of Nairobi resorting to not making or receiving calls at all on the streets, and laptop owners now carry their machine in backpacks which is hard for the ‘Nairobbers’ to ascertain whether it’s a laptop inside.

Copyright © Elove, 2013


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Laptop For Business, Laptops

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