Most bank robbers in Kenya only get away with a few amount of cash, if they get away at all, but there are some heists that go down in history for their execution and grand scale. Considering that it is always about matter of life and death, today we list some of the most insane bank heists in Kenyan history.
On January 2012, three men stole Sh58 million from Eastleigh Barclays Bank branch. Interestingly, the gangsters did not fire any shot and it is not known whether they fled on foot or used a getaway car. The amount stolen was said to have been collected in two days. About Sh34.6 million had been collected on Saturday and Sh19.7 million on Sunday. Ten suspects were charged with the robbery before chief magistrate Esther Mwangi.
2. KCB Thika Branch 50 Million Theft
In November 2017, thieves accessed the bank’s strong room after digging an underground tunnel and made away with Sh50 million. Not even the police, stationed just 150 meters away from the bank could stop the robbers from accomplishing their mission. The three young men were later arrested after 17 million of the stolen money was recovered in a one bedroom rent house Juja town.
3. Citibank 54 million Heist
On January 5, 1997, Charles Omondi, a clearing agent, walked into walked into the offices of Kenya Airfreight Handling Limited at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and took Sh54 million contained in a parcel. Charles told the guards that he had been sent by Citibank to pick the cash, which had been sent from New York.
The Heist made headlines made headlines up to point whereby a reward token of Sh 1 million had to be offered for Charles to be arrested. He fled to Tanzania and later came to Kenya where he was arrested in Nairobi’s Buru Buru estate. After a lengthy trial, Mr. Omondi was jailed for three years and later released on a presidential pardon in 2002.
4. Othaya Equity Bank Robbery
On October 2nd, 2015 robbers posing as auditors walked into an Equity Bank branch in Othaya and made away with Sh30.9 million.They are alleged to have entered the bank at around 6 am through the rear entrance and told the branch deputy manager that they had been authorized to carry out auditing. They were armed with knives.
Three university students and a Form Four leaver were later arrested by police in connection with the robbery. It was later said to be an inside job.
5. Mashreq Bank Robbery
This is one of the funniest heists in history. On July 1, 1999, armed robbers stormed the banking hall of Mashreq Bank at the ICEA building on Kenyatta Avenue and made away with Sh500,000. Witnesses of the daylight recount that on the fateful day, the gangsters sang ” “Toa ndugu, toa dada ulichonacho wewe, umtolee bwana Mungu wako (Give brother, give a sister, whatever you have give your offering to God)”, as they frisked bank customers who walked in unaware of the robbery.
A month later, on August 17, 1999, the same bank was robbed by six gunmen who were singing the same tune and stole Sh9 million plus many valuables like watches and jewelry.
6. Equity Bank Kayole 27 Million Heist
On November 6th, 2016, a guy who had been living for about two months near the bank in Kayole masterminded the robbery which saw a hole being drilled leading to the bank’s safe. They were armed with gas welding machines which gave them an easy access to the bank’s strong room, clearing the 27 Million.
7. Habib Bank AG Zurich Robbery
This happened on 10th March 2018 at Habib Bank AG Zurich’s Koingange street branch. On this heist, the robbers accessed the bank from the rear side of the building then destroyed the alarm and the CCTV system. Amusingly, spent two nights in the bank while looting without being noticed. They seemed to have been prepared to spend the whole weekend inside Habib Bank as they had carried with them packed githeri, chips, chicken, rice and beef …meals which were “escorted” down with milk. They ade away with millions of cash.