They say it’s all in the mind. Adding that whatever is conceived and believed in the mind can be actualized in our actions and achieved. People use this phrase in association with good things. Often incentives to help us embrace the fact that nothing is impossible. But our character had a different interpretation. An interpretation that set him up on this path to ‘greatness’. The path that saw me brand him ‘The Justified Thief’.

From picking one small thing here to picking another bigger thing there and so on. He developed this unconventional mindset that his end actions were justified by the preceding action. Several decades later, the ripple effects of his actions are felt nationwide. What had begun as a small action was manifested into one of the most cunning thieves who believed that his actions were justified. Here’s the story of the justified thief.

We grew up in a village where people embraced and encouraged borrowing and sharing essentials. The good old days when our communities were united. Households had normalized sharing and borrowing essentials provided they showed some decency while at it. I remember my mother would send me to the neighbour to borrow several match sticks if our matchbox accidentally went deep-diving into a soaking cooking pot. One time she sent me to borrow salt when she had forgotten salt in the kitchen which had a leaking roof. Such incidences were normal and the neighbours would generously share. Of course, we would also return the favour when the occasion arose.

On to our teenage years, we continued with this tradition. But it was a little bit different. Rearing rabbits was every teenage boy’s dream. But we were all blessed differently. My parents had bought me a female rabbit with the hope that I would rear it and allow it to reproduce. Several months later and it was ready to reproduce. I went on a fishing expedition hoping to borrow a male rabbit from one of my age mates in our village. One of my friends referred me to a homestead where I would get a solution to my current predicament.

A fellow teenager from my village gave me a male rabbit on the condition that I would take care of it and return it on the third day. But something unfortunate happened. On the second night, there was a sudden commotion beside my small ‘crib’ where I had built my rabbit hutch. I hurriedly got up, grabbed my machete, and ran out of my ‘crib’. someone had broken into my hutch and stolen both rabbits. This would get me into so much trouble with the quiet village boy who had to lend me his rabbit. In our teens, rabbits were our most prized possession. The judgment was quick and unprecedented. Instead of being furious as expected the boy was very calm. He simply patted me on the back and sympathized with me for my loss.

Years passed and we all slowly forgot the events that had transpired. But to the calm boy from our village, each year manifested his unconventional mindset. What had begun as just a rabbit robbery was slowly escalating year after the other. I was born towards the end of a century and at end of my teenage years dawned a new century. There was sudden and rapid growth as things changed. My path had led me to journalism. I became a crime journalist in a small media house in the city and my adventures began.

During my daily adventures chasing intriguing stories to share with our readers, I landed on a trail of unconventional burglaries. As if guided by fate, there was something familiar in each robbery. Pursuing these stories would soon lead to my career-defining moment. The robbers seemed to target random spots to rob which made them hard to catch. However, they pulled off some of the most sophisticated robberies in the city. I made a friend who was a crime scene investigator with the sole purpose of borrowing police reports to help me with these stories. My boss was strict on facts and having credible and reliable sources for our stories.

Investigator reports all asserted that after thoroughly scrutinizing the crime scenes, they had nothing in common. Well, apart from the events that had been hosted before the robberies. One was a rich man’s burial and the other was a jewellery event, just to mention a few.

In the case involving the deceased rich man, the burglar had unearthed and stolen his expensive coffin a day after he was buried at his family’s cemetery. The condolence gathering turned fundraiser held before his burial had raised close to one million shillings. The other case was a private jewellery auction event aiming to raise money to upgrade the city’s museum. Two nights later, burglars broke in and stole all the funds totalling a few pennies short of three million. Both events appealed to the audiences’’ emotions to make generous contributions.

The police reports also comprised the guest lists. I began perusing through the guest lists and one familiar name appeared in both lists. It was the sir name of one family from our village. The same family where I had borrowed a rabbit a few decades ago. I had a hunch but I needed more information to prove my theory. A look into the contribution lists strengthened my hunch. I share the hunch with my crime scene investigator friend who followed the lead and made an arrest.

The rabbit burglary and the trail of unsolved burglaries had something in common, or rather someone in common. Before every robbery, the justified thief was present and had made a sizable contribution. What had started as an unconventional small thought had been manifested to become a trail of burglaries.

The calm boy had given me his male rabbit but later stole both rabbits from my hutch. This act was justified because he had contributed to what he stole. A sizable contribution in the rich man’s burial committee justified his actions to unearth and steal the expensive coffin. Purchasing an expensive silver necklace at the private jewelry auction justified his actions to steal all the money raised during the event. In all these robberies, the thief believed that his actions were justified by contributing before stealing. Do you think his actions were justified? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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