Don’t tell my parents, phone thief begs Lagos police

File; Nigerian cops make an arrest

A telephone thief, who was arrested with his accomplice, has pleaded with the Police in Lagos that his parents must not know that he engaged in stealing.

The suspected thieves, Ufoma Asakpa, 22, and Augustine Omedo, 20, have confessed to the crime after their arrest with both accusing each other of leading one another into the act.

The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command that apprehended them alleged that they specialised in stealing handsets and valuable items.

The Police said the suspects, who burgle shops of innocent members of public at Abule-Oja in Yaba, were arrested by the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command on Oct. 13.

The RRS Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu, said the thieves were arrested at about 6.22 p.m. after they had successfully stolen three handsets from a shop in the area.

According to him, the policemen on patrol went after them when they received a distress call about the incident.

“The suspects took to their heels but the policemen chased and caught them while they attempted to mount a motorcycle, popularly known as Okada. The duo was conveyed to the squad’s headquarters in Alausa for interrogation,’’ he said

According to the ACP, investigation later revealed that the suspects steal phones and other valuable items from any shop they visited after pretending to be customers.

“Upon completion of our preliminary investigation, we discovered that the two suspects specialised in stealing phones and other valuable items under the pretence of buying products from any shop they visited.

“The suspects confirmed that their tricks was to disguise as buyers and once they found out that the seller is sleeping or off their sights, they will pick their phones, money and other valuables,’’ Disu added.

The arrested phone snatchers blamed poverty for being the cause of their involvement in stealing.

One of them, who hail from Ndokwa Local Government Area in Delta State, told NAN that his parents must not know that he was caught for stealing.

In his confessional statement, he said: “I was 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 couldn’t endure the period of apprenticeship. While looking for ways to earn quick money, I met my partner who introduced me to stealing. I joined him about 10 months ago and the police never caught us.

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

His accomplice, who lives at 10, Kehinde Str, Ajegunle, Lagos, regretted that bad friendship lured him into stealing.

“When I entered the shop pretending to buy a sachet of water to cook rice, I saw a phone charging in that shop. I took the phone and switched it off immediately. My partner had also gone to another shop to steal phones too.

“We had successfully stolen those phones but suddenly, we saw RRS men chasing us.
As we were about to mount our motorcycle, we were crossed and arrested,’’ he said in his confessional statement.

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

The owner of the shop, Mr Oluwole Allen, who followed them to the Police’s Headquarters, said that he never had any inkling that the two suspects were phone thieves when they entered his shop.

“The two of them entered with the hope of buying sachet water. I stood up to attend to them unknowingly to me that one of them had stolen my phone.

“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 and could not find it. When we searched both of them, I found my phone with one of them,’’ he said.

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