There was a rare moment when Milimani Principal Magistrate Francis Andanyi set free a man who confessed to shoplifting at a supermarket after hearing the reasons behind his action. 30-year-old Nelson Chuma Okelo, on Thursday, September 2, pleaded guilty after being charged with stealing 20 liters of cooking oil and a milk packet from a supermarket in Nairobi CBD. Okelo told the court that he shoplifted the items to start his fast-food job following his job loss. The 20 liters of oil and a packet of milk were worth Ksh 4,203 and Ksh50 respectively.
In a rare move, Andanyi told the supermarket to give Okelo the items he had shoplifted.
Okelo was working as a cashier for a previous competitor of the supermarket before his job loss.
“I know shoplifting is a crime, therefore I am asking the supermarket to consider giving the cooking oil back to this man whom we have listened to and noted that he is sincere,” the magistrate stated.
This is an unlikely turn of events as in the past petty offenders have been slapped with severe punishment after being found guilty.
According to a police charge sheet, the offender took the items from the shelves and went past the cashier which prompted the security guard to stop him.
However, it was upon the inquiry of a receipt that led the security officer to note that the offender indeed was a shoplifter, prompting the guards to raise alarm.
He was arrested and taken to Central Police station where he was booked for the court session on September 2.
“Your honor I do not have the means to fend for my family following my job loss.
Desperation led me to use other means as I stole the oil for cooking chips for sale," Okelo defended his actions.
The court further directed that the probation officer interview Okelo to establish whether his sentiments were true or false before giving a final verdict.
The probation officer was told to file a report in court by September 5. The findings shall therefore guide the court in the final verdict.