By Bamutaze Sam Mwanjje
A 62-year-old retired ICT teacher George Ogutti, a dweller of Nakanyonyi-Bukwale cell in Jinja City, has been arrested for allegedly masterminding the theft of vehicle number plates in eastern Uganda.
It is alleged that Ogutti is one of the gang members involved in the theft of motor-vehicle number plates since 2021. The gang largely targets members of the Asian community in Tororo, Iganga, and Namutumba districts and Jinja city.
Ogutti is reported to be the brain behind the leaflets left behind on the vehicle windscreens after plucking off number plates.
The leaflets instruct unsuspecting victims to pay between Shs500, 000 and Shs5 million depending on the brand of the vehicle.
The leaflets also contain the mobile money numbers 0771491993 and 0703932528 registered in the name of the late Hussein Kato.
Police impounded Ogutti’s laptop, flash disk, and a desktop computer containing details of the group’s operations, stolen number plates and particulars of their victims.
Ogutti was arrested alongside Simon Olowo, 27, a resident of Kisoko sub-county in Tororo district.
Olowo’s arrest had led to the recovery of two-vehicle number plates UBL 287G and UBE 518B which were hidden opposite Kiira regional fire and rescue services offices.
Police also netted Alex Macho, 38, and 55-year-old Steven Mugabe both dwellers of Namutumba district.
Speaking to Charmar News, on condition of anonymity, a member of the Indian community said they held a meeting with the Jinja district security committee over increased theft of number plates prompting the hunt down of suspects.
Kiira regional police spokesperson, James Mubi says police have over the years dismantled motor vehicle number plate theft rackets in eastern Uganda.
He added that four suspects linked to the racket were netted in May, July, and August 2021.