A magistrate in Mombasa Monday came to the rescue of a teenager who had stolen weaves worth Ksh 1, 140 from a local supermarket and was facing up to 2 years in jail or a fine of Ksh 50,000. Patrick Odhiambo, Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate, organized an impromptu fundraiser within the court to compensate the supermarket from which Kathryn Chelagat had stolen two hair weaves on Sunday, July 21.
The 19 year-old pleaded guilty to the shoplifting charge, citing her inability to raise the money for weaves as the reason that drove her to steal them.
“I wanted to look beautiful, like other women. So I went to the supermarket, looked around and saw the weaves that my friends often wear. Upon looking at the price tag, I was heartbroken that I could not afford the two pieces. Left with no other choice, I stole the products,” a teary Chelagat told the court.
She further explained that she had been raised in poverty, and much as she tried to look beautiful, financial constraints prevented her from being up to par with her friends.
“I was raised in poverty. When I came to town, I would see women sporting good hair and wearing quality make-up. I have tried to look as beautiful as my friends, but lack of money makes that impossible,” she said.
Her admission clearly moved the magistrate, for he asked those who were in court to contribute Ksh 100 towards the Ksh 1,140 compensation owed to the supermarket.
A lawyer who was present, William Bosire, parted with Ksh 2,000 towards the cause. The magistrate set the teenager free and tasked the investigating officer to take back the stolen weaves to Mtwapa Supermarket. He also requested that the money contributed by the lawyer be given to Chalagat so that she could buy food and weaves.