Motorcycle riders have been once again urged to remain cautious over the security of their bikes and avoid putting them under direct threat of being stolen.
The Southern Region Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Hubert Gashagaza told The Sunday Times on Friday that despite measures to stop it, theft of motorcycles remains at large.
He was speaking after the arrest of a 41-year-old man who was, according to police sources, caught as he attempted to take a stolen motorcycle from Ruhango District in the Southern Province to Karongi District in the Western Province.
The suspect (names withheld), a resident of Rubavu District, was arrested last Thursday and is detained at Nyamagana Police Station, the police said.
The man has been linked to other motorcycle thefts in the Southern Province.
Police also recovered the motorcycle, a TVS plate number RC325A, whose rider was allegedly sedated before the suspect took off ‘quietly’ with the bike.
Police suspect the rider, 33-year-old Obed Mugaburiho, was given a ‘poisoned juice’ and is reportedly admitted at Gitwe Hospital in Ruhango District.
A tip off and cooperation from local residents and other riders led to the suspect being arrested on Wednesday at around 1.30 PM, the police said.
Speaking to this newspaper, Gashagaza urged owners and riders of motorcycles to be vigilant as burglars keep changing their mode of operation.
He said there is now a new tendency to use tranquilizers, especially by pouring them into juices and other soft drinks and offering the drinks to riders while committing the robberies.
“Riders should not be lured into accepting drinks from malign individuals who disguise as innocent people, but rather report them to police,” the officer said.
Late last year, police in the province had warned motorcycle owners to take extra care of their properties to deal with thefts.
Last month, police in Nyanza District arrested three individuals, two Burundians and a Rwandan, as they attempted to smuggle a stolen Yamaha AG100 across the border to the neighbouring Burundi.
And last December, police in Ruhango District shot dead a suspected robber who was riding a stolen motorcycle and allegedly confronted police officers who were searching for the bike after it went missing at Munanira Health Centre in the district.