Three men, who seemed to specialise in inflicting double-pain to grief-stricken and teary-eyed people about to bury their loved ones at funerals, have been arrested by police in Lilongwe.
Innocent Phiri, 20, Joe Chakhala, 42, and Patrick Chalemera, 28 were arrested last week when police followed up on tip-offs they received from the public on their theft tricks.
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula explained that the syndicate’s activities emerged in September this year after several people who were either holding funeral vigils or were actually burying their loved ones at cemeteries reported losing cash, laptops, cellphones and other valuable items from vehicles which were broken into while they were parked at the various funeral sites.
He said: “Most of the incidents happened in Area 18 Township in Lilongwe, but the thefts started spreading to other townships.
“We have discovered that the suspected thieves sometimes even posed as sympathisers riding in vehicles escorting bereaved family members to burial sites in distant places such as Mchinji, Mponela and even Blantyre. They would then choose their moments and items in the thefts.”
He said investigations are underway to arrest the other suspected members of the syndicate still at large.n