A notorious pickpocket who operates on the Lilongwe Bridge has been sent to prison after stealing K100,000 from the bag of a British national.
The Malawi News Agency reported that the offender, Ganizani Kachingwe aged 23, was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday after being found guilty of stealing from Rob Johannes Bernardos, a visiting researcher at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in the city.
State Prosecutor Sub-Inspector Bauleni Namasani that on February 19, 2020, Kachingwe, was on the said bridge when Bernados and his student, Rodrick Kasambo, were trying to cross on their way to Area 2.
“Kachingwe secretly opened Bernardos’ laptop bag and stole K100, 000 cash stashed in a brown envelope,” said Namasani.
The thief was seen by another who alerted the two and they reported the matter to Lilongwe Police Station.
Police detectives moved in quickly and netted Kachingwe. The law enforcers managed to recover K24, 000 from Kachingwe.
Kachingwe pleaded guilty and claimed the money had been shared among his accomplices who are still at large in town.
Prosecutor Namasani asked for the court’s stiffer sentence, saying cases of pick-pocketing were rampant at Lilongwe Bridge, raising fear among pedestrians.
Namasani also said the accused was a habitual offender having just been released from prison on theft of a mobile phone charge.
Passing the sentence, First Grade Magistrate Robert Botha agreed with the state and observed that people like Kachingwe need to be isolated from the society by granting them immediate custodial sentences.
He then slapped Kachingwe with a three-year jail sentence which he said would serve as a warning to other pickpockets.
Kachingwe hails from Kalilima Village in Traditional Authority Mkanda in Mulanje District.