Last week I nearly lost my laptop in a matatu. A friend of mine had lost his not so long ago and I have been laughing at him all along. I mean it is so large, how would someone remove it from your bag without you knowing. It was a close shave, I was lucky I knew about the trick they use so I am going to share it, I am sure it will save someone from losing his/her laptop.
The guys work in a gang of at least 2 with cooperation from the conductor. One guys will sit beside you and another behind you. The guy beside you will always be carrying a bag which will totally obstruct his arms as he slowly opens your bag. At some point the guy behind you will pretend to receive a phone call about a crack down. He will then advice you to belt up. He will always do this just before a stage. As you fasten your seat belt the guy seated beside you will remove your laptop and put it in his. Before the fake call is made they make sure they have opened your bag. You will feel the laptop being removed but this is timed perfectly such that as soon as he has the laptop the matatu stops and they alight. Following them at this juncture is pointless as it is a gang, they might end up beating you up.
The sad thing is that passengers are so fearful they will not utter a word nor come out to help you. You should therefore be very cautious in public transport. Don’t pick any coins someone has dropped, it is always a ploy. Don’t listen to anyone telling you to fasten your seat belt, there are hardly any good Samaritans in public transport.
There is also another trick out there. You can lose your bag when boarding a matatu especially when people are scrambling to board it. The first guy will be the first one on the door and another will be directly behind you. The one in front will hesitate to climb as the one behind you cuts the straps of the bag. Since there is so much commotion you will hardly feel as this happens. You will be left there holding on to useless straps. The bus operators know about this but they can’t do anything about it. One tried to intervene and a day later he had acid poured on his eyes.
These incidences are particularly common along Ngong road and so be extra cautious when plying this route. Do you know any other ploy out there? Feel free to share it, it will go a long way in helping our brothers and sisters out there.