…on ninja thieves and selfie whores.

On Thieves and Selfie Whores.png


No matter your profession, do it long enough and you get better at it. If nothing at all, you find more efficient ways to get results. Better still, your rewards will get bigger. The profession of stealing illustrates this maxim wonderfully.

Its sad how they are treated though. I don’t mean armed robbers or their like. I am talking about petty thieves, those who specialize in stealing phones especially. In times past, they would have been sent overseas [in slave ships but it still counts].

With the dedication and commitment they show to their profession, they need to be commended.  In spite of the many dangers associated with their jobs, they wake up every morning and go to work.

These dangers are not only in the form of physical harm. With the advent of technology, most phones can be tracked and locked remotely, making them useless to the enterprising thief. A careless thief might also break the screen, which severely reduces the value of the phone. These setbacks notwithstanding, they persist. This persistence probably has more to do with the outrageous prices of phones lately. Waiting for that one phone, their big score is also a huge motivation.

If you don’t get the significance of this, lets go back in history. Remember when phone thieves had to be content with Nokias and Sony Ericsons. These were huge and cumbersome, and not many people were able to afford them. Now, they are spoiled for choice, phones are everywhere. Without focus, they will lose out.

A phone thief out to work, might set himself the goal of getting four iPhones. Even with that, he has the 4, 4s, 5, 5s, 6 and the 6s to choose from. If he specializes in Android phones, na as3m as3i kraa. With that he has to focus on software versions. This they do by checking out the size and shape of the phone. Then they strike.

Their mode of engaging would be victims has changed too. They used to just pick your phone and steal away quietly. Lately they have become brazen. Accosting you in the middle of the street to ask for your phone, they are so polite about it too. “Excuse me sir, can I have your phone?” or ” Bra, wo wie call na, mame phone no waei”. They are total gentlemen about the whole thing. Sometimes even giving you back your SIM card. Always using a nice honorific too.

Usually these kind of thieves are sitting on a wall as they ask you to hand over the phone. Smiling and gesturing while at it. Despite the manners shown by the gentleman thieves, the ones who impress me the most are the  “go slow” thieves [sometimes called ninja thieves]. They strike in traffic. They do the snatch and run. From nowhere they snatch the phone from the victim [who is usually sitting by the window in a car], and run off.

These go slow thieves are geniuses to be able to pull off a snatch and run. You’ve got to admire them. If you think about the fact that they choose potential victims on the spot. You begin to see how difficult it is. Imagine some of the attributes they exhibit.

1. Good business acumen. This is reflected in their approach. Choosing a central location to observe it all. Holding on to that position [one mistake and a rival steals your position, all your rivals are thieves after all]. A good thief knows to eat a heavy breakfast to prevent taking unnecessary breaks. Likewise they know when breaks won’t affect hem much

2. Fleetness of foot. Your victim shouting:  “thief!” will have a mob after you just like that. Your speed discourages pursuit. Outdistance them so they know its a lost cause.

3. Eagle eyes. To identify phone features so they know the phone is not a fake. Why go through all that trouble to steal a fake phone?

4. Photographic memory. Escape routes should be planned already. With a backup route in case it goes sour. You should have memorized the layout of the neighborhood. They also have the identifying features of most phones memorized [no easy feat that].

5. Dumb luck. Lots of it. Let’s face it, its more luck than skill that gets them off. Listening to some professional thieves, they suggested a whole lot of rituals to observe. Some are just baffling;
*If you realize wearing a particular shirt increases your score, never ever wash it.

*whatever you did the morning of your biggest score, always repeat it. There is a reason why that day was your biggest score.

*Always pray before you go to work. God makes all things possible. A praying thief is a successful thief.

These rituals help to keep the luck coming.

One incident that happened off the Kaneshie-Odorkor road, raised their reputation a hundredfold in my eyes. The dedication, bravery and steadfastness the thief showed to his profession impressed me no end.

You do know how traffic slows to a halt after working hours on that road. It wasn’t any different that day. I was in a trotro by the way, at the front. The guy who had the window seat had been on his phone throughout. From Odorkor all the way to Kaneshie First Light. Even paying the mate, he just handed over the fare. He didn’t bother checking his change too. He was that engrossed in whatever conversation he was having.

Getting to first light, He decides to take a selfie. You know how in taking selfies, you’ve got to observe some rules.
*Camera Angle
He was ignoring them all. A selfie whore he was.

Not wanting to disturb me, he leaned into the car door and stretched out his hand. Looking at the picture, he frowned and took a couple more. Whether it was because they came out blurry, weren’t nice enough for him or just to try a different angle, He changed positions. He now turned to face the opposite direction [before he was facing the driver and I]. Now he was facing his window.

This is where it gets interesting. To get a wider cone of vision, he had stretched out his arm all the way. Till his phone was partly out of the window. While all this was going on, I was doing my best to ignore him. Suddenly he jerked, elbowing me in the neck. Turning to warn him, I saw him in a tug of war with this big burly hand. The hand had a hold of the phone and was winning. Being a nice guy, I took a hold of him and added my strength to his.

This made a whole lot of difference. My sudden tug on selfie had pulled in burly up to the elbow. Sensing danger, he [burly] let go of the phone and tried to pull  his hand out. It wasn’t to be. To prevent glare from the sun while taking his selfies, selfie had rolled up the window a bit. Burly, in a rush to retract his hand, hit his elbow on the window edge. The hand went dead. Selfie seeing an opportunity to be a hero dropped his phone in his lap and grabbed hold of Burly’s arm with both hands.

That was a mistake. Apparently Burly wasn’t done yet. From nowhere, his other hand snaked into the car and broke selfie’s hold on the dead hand. While at it, the hand snatched the phone from selfie’s lap. It was with shocked looks that we watched Burly push himself off the window, do a backflip and run off. No one could even call out thief. All this had taken place within a spate of seconds. A quarter of a minute at most. I was full of admiration for Burly. Not giving up on his goal and not getting distracted too. Throughout the ordeal he hadn’t uttered a sound. Not when he hit his elbow or when Selfie grabbed hold of his hand. In the face of adversity he held on. He had conducted himself as a professional throughout.

None of this was voiced out loud though, didn’t even let it show on my face. Selfie was heartbroken. Turning to me he said; “the phone too be new oo”. I could only nod and ask if he wanted to take a selfie with mine. He is selfie after all.

Author: OsugyaniAbrantie


4 thoughts on “…on ninja thieves and selfie whores.”

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