Two ar­rested over shoplift­ing in Lagos

Daily Trust - - CRIME - From Eu­gene Agha, Lagos

Po­lice­men at­tached to the Rapid Re­sponse Squad (RRS), at the week­end ar­rested two sus­pected shoplifters at the Abule Oja area of Yaba, Lagos. They al­legedly stole two tele­phones.

When the RRS op­er­a­tives ar­rived at the scene, Ufoma Asakpa, 22, and Au­gus­tine Omedo, 20, were ar­rested af­ter en­gag­ing the owner of the shop in a fight and al­legedly steal­ing the phones. Asakpa had taken off with the phones when po­lice ar­rested his ac­com­plice, but showed up later to bran­dish a forged iden­tity card be­fore the po­lice­men.

Sur­prised by the ac­tion and bold­ness of the sus­pected shoplifter, the po­lice­men car­ried out a search on his ve­hi­cle, fol­low­ing which two brand new mobile phones were found in the boot of his car. He was sub­se­quently ar­rested along with his ac­com­plice and taken to the RRS head­quar­ters at Alausa, Ikeja.

In his con­fes­sional state­ment, Au­gus­tine said, “I am a sec­ondary school dropout. I was un­able to pro­ceed to se­nior classes af­ter I failed ju­nior WAEC. My par­ents took me to my brother’s shop to learn how to re­pair gen­er­a­tors, but I could not en­dure the pe­riod of ap­pren­tice­ship.

“While look­ing for ways to earn quick money, I met my part­ner who in­tro­duced this act of steal­ing to me. I joined him about 10 months ago. This is the first time the po­lice are ar­rest­ing us.

“In fact, my par­ents must not know that I am a thief be­cause I leave home ev­ery day as if I were go­ing to work. I have re­gret­ted my ac­tions. It was the devil who pushed me into it,” he said.

On his part, Ufoma, who lives at 10, Ke­hinde Street, Aje­gunle, Lagos, re­gret­ted that bad friend­ship lured him into steal­ing.

“While I was in this shop, my part­ner had also gone to an­other shop to steal phones. We had suc­cess­fully stolen those phones, sud­denly, we saw RRS men chas­ing us. As we were about to mount a mo­tor­cy­cle, we were flagged down and ar­rested,” he said.

The two sus­pects, who re­vealed that they had stolen about 70 phones this year, sim­ply iden­ti­fied their buyer as Alfa who owns a shop at Bound­ary in Aje­gunle.

The owner of the shop, Mr. Olu­wole Allen, who fol­lowed them to the po­lice head­quar­ters, said he never sus­pected that they were thieves when they en­tered his shop.

“When they came to my shop, I stood up to at­tend to them, not know­ing that one of them had stolen my phones. The other guy went to an­other shop to do the same be­fore he was caught in the process. In­stantly, I looked around to search for my phone but could not find it. When we searched both of them, I found my phone on one of them,” he said.

Com­man­der of the RRS, As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Olatunji Disu said, “Our po­lice­men who were on pa­trol around Yaba axis got a dis­tress call that some peo­ple had stolen valu­ables.

“Upon com­ple­tion of pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion, we dis­cov­ered that the two sus­pects spe­cialised in steal­ing phones and other valu­able items while pre­tend­ing as cus­tomers.

The sus­pects have been trans­ferred to the Spe­cial Anti-Rob­bery Squad (SARS) of the state po­lice com­mand for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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