• A quest for a getaway car for a bank robbery sets man on a wild-goose chase
Now that Sgt Sophia is no longer interested in love, seeing as men have decided to misbehave against women and the fallout has reached us, it’s a good thing that I get a distraction to get my mind off things.
Detective Gundua, he of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, is back in Jiji Ndogo, chasing another criminal on the lam.
‘What’s his name?’ I ask.
‘That’s a stupid name for a criminal.’
Gundua shakes his head. ‘I’m surprised every time someone says that. What would be a good name for a criminal, Mwizi?’
‘Don Bosco sounds better to me.’ I laugh. ‘Anyway, what did he do?’
‘I hate to call him a dumb criminal, since I think all criminals are dumb, but this guy takes the cake.’
As detective Gundua tells it, Mganga went on a crime spree that defies every piece of logic you’ll ever hear. As part of a would-be bank robbery gang, Mganga was entrusted with the role of getaway driver. It was also his responsibility to secure a vehicle for the same.
The first car Mganga hijacks is a two-seater convertible coupe. Being that the gang is five-member strong, a two-seater just wouldn’t work.
‘It was also a convertible,’ Gundua says, aghast. ‘Who robs a bank in a car with a chandarua for a top?’
Mganga goes hunting again. On his second and third attempts, he can’t break into locked vehicles. So, it’s back to hijacking. Seeing as he has no weapon, he gets himself a two-by-two mbao. He finds a woman in a car outside a supermarket. Waving his crude weapon, he orders her out of the car. She obliges willingly, only requesting to get her baby out of the back seat.
Mganga gets into the driver’s seat, only to realise the car is a stick-shift, not an automatic. Mganga has never driven a stick. After two tries that stall, he gets out of the car and stomps the ground in disgust.
‘Sorry about that,’ says the woman. ‘Here’s your mbao. You should also consider a better weapon if you want to do this kind of thing.’
‘He had given his weapon to the woman?’ I ask.
Gundua nods. ‘I told you. Dumb criminal.’
A good weapon is a splendid idea, Mganga decides. But where to get one?
‘A police station,’ says Gundua.
‘No, he wouldn’t!’
‘He would if only he disguised himself well.’
Mganga needs a balaclava or mask to hide his face, either of which he doesn’t have.
As he walks around, looking for a solution, he comes across a young boy playing with crayons. I could paint my face, Mganga thinks. But he is at least smart enough to know crayons won’t work. But the boy has a permanent marker. That will do.
So Mganga selects a small police post much like Jiji Ndogo, draws all over his face with the marker, walks in and, wielding his trusted mbao, demands that they give him a gun, otherwise he smashes all their heads in.
‘What did the cops do?’ I ask.
‘First, they laughed at him, of course. Then they tried to arrest him. But he was too fast for them, and that’s why I am here, looking for him.’
‘How do you know he is here?’
Detective Gundua has a good laugh, then he says, ‘We posted a picture of him on Facebook, you know, his face painted with the marker? He comments on the picture, saying he’s more handsome than that, and posts his real picture. And below it is information on the phone he used and his geolocation! Jiji Ndogo.’