Lilongwe First Grade Magistrate’s Court has convicted and sentenced a notorious pickpocket criminal at Lilongwe Bridge to three years’ imprisonment for stealing K100, 000 cash from a British National.

The offender, Ganizani Kachingwe, 23, was found guilty on Monday after stealing from Rob Johannes Bernardos, a visiting researcher at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in the city.

The court held through 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.

“He was detected by a well-wisher who alerted the two and reported it to Lilongwe Police Station. Police detectives moved in quickly and netted Kachingwe before recovering K24, 000 from him,” Namasani said.

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.

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