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Monday, May 7, 2018

Suspect: How I stole 1,200 phones from commuters

A 28-year-old suspected pickpocket, has told operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Ikeja, Lagos State Police Command how he stole 1200 phones at bus stops and commercial buses.

The suspect, Femi Solomon, was arrested on Thursday at Iyana Oworo area of the state. Solomon after stealing a Samsung phone from a commuter during rush hour at Iyana Oworo bus stop.

The suspect, who is an auto technician, told the police that he joined his gang in Obalende, when he was selling fairly used clothes. According to Solomon, one of his customers, Ismaila, 50, introduced him to pick pocket business.

He was attracted to Ismaila because the latter was always well dressed and throws money around. Solomon said: “When I saw Ismaila’s flamboyant life style, I told him I was looking for a better job. He promised to assist me. He asked me to be following him around. When I started learning the trade, I usually followed Ismaila from behind. I monitored what he was doing.

We used to move from one bus stop in Lagos to another, from morning till evening. He was stealing phones and wallets from passengers inside buses and at bus stops.” Solomon further said: “Throughout the six months I followed him, we were able to pick about six to eight phones.

We also ‘picked’ people’s wallets without them knowing. Ismaila kept everything to himself, but at the end of the day, he would give me between N4, 000 to N6, 000.”

Solomon said that on August, 2016, he decided to go solo. He wasn’t bold enough to dip hands into people’s pocket during the day, so reserved his activities to evening time. His words: “I was still a green horn, so I decided to go out in the evening since nobody pickpockets at night.

I usually start operation at 6:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. My target was between four to five mobile phones in a day. Once I was able to hit that number, I would close for the day and go home. I used to sell the phones to a friend, who resides on Lagos Island. In my estimation, I have stolen over 1200 phones between Lagos bus stops and commercial buses.”

The suspect further confessed that he usually operated at Ajegunle, Iyana Oworo to Ketu, Ojota and Oshodi to Mile 2. “I used to operate on Monday, Tuesday, Fridays and Saturdays. I also operated at night parties.” Police said that it recovered four phones from him.

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