A phone thief arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of the Lagos State Police Command has confessed that he has stolen over 1,200 from Lagos commuters since he joined pick-pocketing gang.
The suspect, Femi Solomon, from Ogun State was arrested last Thursday by the operatives in Iyana Oworo, Lagos, after stealing a Samsung phone from a commuter in a bus stampede at the bus stop.
Solomon, an auto technician noted that he joined pick-pocketing gang in Obalende, where he was ushering people to buy used cloth popularly called “Okrika”.
According to him, one of his customers, Ismaila, who was about 50 years old, “introduced me to pick-pocketing. I noticed he was coming to Obalende finely dressed with so much money.
“I told him I was looking for better job opportunity, and he assured me that he was going to assist me with one and when he was going to introduced me to one, he said I should be following him, while I learnt from him.
“I was following from behind and monitoring what he was doing. We were moving from one bus stops in Lagos to the other from morning till evening. He was stealing phones and wallets from passengers inside bus and at bus stops.
“Throughout the six months I followed him, we could pick 6 to 8 phones and wallets from people without them knowing. He kept everything to himself, but at the end of the day, he would give me between N4,000 to N6,000 depending on his wish.”
According to him, “on August 2016, I started on my own. I wasn’t bold enough to pickpocket during the day. Besides, I was still a “green horn” and inexperienced, so I devised to go out from evening since nobody pickpocket at night.
“I start operation at 6:00 p.m and I end at 9:00 p.m. My target is between 4 to 5 mobile phones in a day. Once I am able to hit that figure, I stop operation and I retire. I sell phones to a friend based in Lagos Island.
“In my rough estimation, I would have stolen 1,200 phones both by standing in Lagos bus stops and inside commercial buses.”
He explained that the routes “I normally go to are Ajegunle, Iyana Oworo to Ketu, Ketu to Ojota and Oshodi to Mile 2. I operate on Monday, Tuesday , Friday and Saturday. I also operate at night parties and where there are overnight events.”
Recovered from the suspects were four mobile phones.
The suspect has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID for further investigations.
Commenting on the development, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, SP Chike Oti said that the onslaught against criminal elements still operating in the state was still ongoing and that no criminal would be spared.