Three Kololo Courts hotel staff have been arrested on allegations of conspiring with two other suspects to rob $800,000 (about Shs 3 billion) cash belonging to businessman, Lee Max.
The suspects who booked into a neighbouring room, 310, broke into Lee's room, 313, last week and were captured on CCTV cameras. Sources say the hotel staff associates are suspected of having tipped off the thugs who broke into the room and took the money.
According to detectives from the three police stations; Kololo, Jinja road, and CPS Kampala, the thugs trailed Lee from one of the banks in Kampala and waited for him to go jogging before they broke into his hotel room. The thugs are said to have fled the country to Tanzania, two days after the robbery. It is still unclear whether they fled with the cash.
“This man [Lee] entered the hotel room at 6:30 pm and it was a Wednesday. The thugs seemed to have studied his patterns and we have been told that he often kept huge amounts of money in that hotel room where he also had a safe,” said one of the detectives.
Without divulging details of the case and investigations, Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, confirmed the robbery, adding that the case is being handled by the criminal investigations department (CID).
“It is true we are investigating the case of burglary and theft of money belonging to a businessman. It is also true that some of the suspects have fled to Tanzania but our CID team has notified the police on the other side to help in arresting these suspects,” said Onyango.
The case is being investigated under CRB: 860/2022. So far, information collected shows that Lee left his hotel room at 7 pm to go jogging. He returned to the hotel at around 8.30 pm, took a shower, and went back to do some work on his laptop in the lobby. At around 1:20 am, Lee retreated to his hotel room to sleep, but when he tried to open the door, he noticed the lock was damaged and decided to inform a technician who came and fixed it.
“After the technician fixed the door locks, he entered his room but quickly noticed that his safe had been opened and money was taken. He quickly alerted the CCTV team at the hotel and they retrieved the footage from the time he booked into the room. The cameras showed two men who had booked room 310 breaking into his room and came out with loaded bags," said the detectives.
The CCTV footage shows one of the suspects was wearing a yellow shirt while the other putting on a white shirt. The CCTVs clearly show the two men breaking into his room 313 and leaving with two laptop bags loaded with money.
In an attempt to quickly corner the suspects, Lee called security bosses commissioner of police (CP) Beata Chelimo and Captain Namara but the suspects appeared to have been faster than the investigators.
Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Clare Nabakka, the deputy Police spokesperson, said many times thugs take advantage of normalized movement patterns to steal, or rob persons. She said people need to stop moving with huge amounts of money in cash form and embrace electronic transfers.