Police have arrested 20 notorious burglars said to have been behind a wave of theft of electronics in various Kigali city suburbs.
The suspects were paraded yesterday, at Kigali Metropolitan Police, where some of the recovered items were handed back to the owners.
Speaking to journalists after receiving his stolen items, Juan Ignacio Ponelli, the POSITIVO president in Africa, a resident of Kibagabaga, said burglars had broken into his house a week ago, stole his television screen and two laptops.
“I reported the case to police who instantly, showed up at my house, scanned the area, took finger prints and in few days I received a call from an officer informing me that my items had been recovered,” he said.
He called on the public to always report theft cases to police.
“All that the police will require is description of your stolen items and they will find them. I was very impressed when it came to my case.”
Another victim, Christopher Marler, the director of Africa Digital Media Academy, also a resident of Kibagabaga, said he had been robbed twice within a space of two months.
“After the second robbery, I reported the case to police, with details of the items stolen and their serial numbers; within 24 hours they came back with the thief and retrieved all my stolen items.”
“The thieves broke into my house through the window using cutters and stole a 50 inch flat-panel television and a desktop computer. I am thankful.”
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege, the Commissioner for CID, appealed to anyone one who may have lost equipment to visit police with proof of ownership.
“We recently established a special unit that would deal with increasing cases of burglary. The specialised unit that works day and night responding to burglary reports investigated all cases in-depth and apprehended the prime suspects,” said Badege.
“These gangs include burglars, transporters, technicians who format computers, and the buyers. The suspects are accused of theft, formation of a criminal gang and armed robbery since they use some weapons. They risk a jail sentence of up to 20 years.”
Janvier Banabashaka, a suspect, was arrested with six flat screens and four laptops.
“Normally we break in through the window, picks up a television; there is always a vehicle on the stand by that transports us to the buyer who pays us instantly. It normally happens around 2:00am and 3:00am,”
Pascal Niyomugabo, another suspect had allegedly invested Rwf 2 million in purchasing four laptops and six flat screens, including four of 42 inches and two of 32 inches.
“Considering the amount I buy these items, definitely they I knew very well that these were stolen items; this is why I ask for forgiveness.”
Abdul Umuhoza, an IT expert, admitted to formatting stolen laptops knowingly.