‘How I use middle finger, back of hand to steal’
A23-year-old pickpocket, identified as Monday Ubi, has recounted how he normally used his middle finger and the back of his hand to remove money or wallet from a victim’s pocket, either in commercial buses or crowded bus stops in Lagos.
The suspect, who lives at 19, Olutimeyin Street, Ipaja, Adobe, was nabbed at Mile 2 area of Lagos by police operatives attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS).
His arrest followed a distress call from one of his victims, identified as Orji Ogbonnaya.
The suspect had allegedly successfully removed the sum of N28, 000 from the victim’s pocket inside a commercial bus heading towards FESTAC area.
In his confessional statement at the squad’s headquarters, he admitted being one of the robbery syndicate operating at Mile 2, Ajegunle and its environs.
He told Daily Trust exclusively that he sometimes studied the outlines of the pockets of Lagosians, adding that having been trained in the act; they have been living on the proceeds from his frequent outings.
“For the past two years, I have always looked out for people’s wallets,” he said.
He revealed that sizing up a would-be victim with his pocket bulging and trying to enter a commercial bus, his heart would stop beating for a second.
“It is easier to remove anything from the pocket of someone who is wearing a native attire or suit. One can visualise the outline of the victim’s wallet,” he added.
Ubi, who the police described as one of the fastest and slick pickpockets in Lagos, explained that he had combed the nooks and crannies of the metropolis and knows where to get a good catch.
“Mile 2, Oshodi Oke and Ajegunle are some of my best places. I will always return home with something, no matter how little anytime I operate in these areas,” he said regretfully.
He revealed that there was a time when riot broke out at Mushin and people were running, and that created an opportunity for him and cashed into it.
“I identified a target, a middle-aged man. From the look of things, he was a trader. I struck quickly and disappeared into the crowd with the man’s wallet containing several N1000 notes,” he added.
He continued, “Sometimes I would pretend to assist my victim who may be travelling with heavy luggage. Before the person would know that he had been robbed, I would have been several miles away from the scene.”
He told Daily Trust that he was selling second-hand cloths at Kantagowa Market along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway before a customer introduced him to the crime.
“I was selling second-hand cloths at Super, a popular Kantagowa market along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway. One of my customers introduced the robbery profession to me. He taught me how to remove handsets and money from our preys without their knowledge.
“I intentionally sat beside him in the bus because we always knew our victims. This is not my first time in this act. I have been in this profession for close to two years now.
“Our gang specializes in stealing handsets from innocent motorists. I want the government to forgive me. I have realised that there is no gain in stealing,” Ubi said
The victim, Orji Ogbonnaya, told the police that the suspect sat close to him at the last seat in the bus and stylishly dipped his hands into his pocket to remove the money.
According to him, “I boarded a bus to Mile 2 from Oshodi. On getting to Toyota, the suspect came in as another passenger because we still had vacant seats inside the bus. I did not have any inkling that he had a mission. I moved a bit for him and he sat close to me. When I noticed that he had removed the money from my pocket after I touched my thigh, I pretended as if nothing had happened. Then I was looking for where I can see any police patrol vehicle to come to my rescue.
“When we got to Mile 2, he wanted to alight from the bus, but I held his trousers and called the attention of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) patrol team I saw around the area. Unknown to me, he had passed the money to one of the members of his gang. But when the police surrounded us, we saw one man who just dropped the money on the road and fled. Policemen ran after him but he absconded. Immediately, the suspect was arrested and conveyed to the squad’s headquarters, where he confessed that he actually stole my money and passed it to his partner, the guy who came to drop it.”
He thanked the police for coming to his rescue and recovering his hard-earned money, adding that the money (N28, 000) was handed over to him
Confirming the arrest, the Police Public RelationsOfficer, Lagos State command, Joe Offor, warned hoodlums and armed robbers to stay away from the state.