Police warn, caution 70-year-old phone-snatching granny

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POLICE in Lusaka have warned and cautioned a 70-year-old woman over in connection with phone thefts.

Mailes Banda of George Compound was apprehended at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) this morning with a Samsung phone which police suspect she stole from the facility.

She was noticed by Christine Mulenga, a Lusaka resident who is familiar with her ways.

After Mulenga alerted police, the old woman was taken to the UTH Police Post where she was found with a Samung phone hidden in her breast holder – she had discarded the simcard and memory card.

She initially admitted to stealing the phone but later said she picked the gadget after person who sat next to her at the hospital enquiries dropped.

But Mulenga who insisted that she knows the old woman told police that the 70-year-old widow was in the habit of stealing phones and purses from health facilities.

“We once caught her at Marapodi Clinic for stealing a purse, another time we took her to Muzaleka Police Post for stealing a phone,” Mulenga told officers.

In her defense, Banda pleaded for forgiveness saying she would never steal again.

“Please forgive me, I am your mother and grandmother. I will not steal again. This is the last time I am stealing,” she pleaded with the officers.

The mother of six grown children who are all married said her husband died in 2016 and resorted to petty thieving to survive.

The pleading woman said she rents herself a room in George Compound and sometimes sells mangos to survive.

“You know children of nowadays, they don’t pay attention to their parents. They are all married and don’t care about me,” she said when asked about her children.

But a source who knows Banda told #Kalemba that her children had given up on her because of her petty thieving ways.

“The children have had to get her released from police many times but they are now ashamed because she doesn’t stop,” the source said.

Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo confirmed that Banda had been warned, cautioned and released.

Katongo told #Kalemba while it had been established that Banda had indeed stolen the phone, there was no complainant in the matter.

She said police would continue investigations in the matter.

Story and pictures by Salim Dawood

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