‘How I use mid­dle fin­ger, back of hand to steal’

Daily Trust - - CRIME - From Eu­gene Agha, La­gos

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.

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