A phone thief arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command confessed that he has stolen over 1200 from commuters since he joined pickpocketing gang.
Femi Solomon, from Ogun State, was arrested last Thursday by policemen at Iyana Oworo after stealing a Samsung phone from a commuter during a bus stampede at the bus stop.
Solomon, an auto technician, said he joined a pickpocketing gang at Obalende at a time he he was guiding 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 pickpocketing. 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 learn from him.
‘’I was following from behind and monitoring what he was doing as we moved from one bus stop 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 desire.
“On August 2016, I started on my own. I wasn’t bold enough to pickpocket during the day. Besides, I was still inexperienced, so I decided to go out in the evenings since nobody pickpockets at night.
‘’I start operation at 6pm and I end at 9pm. 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 1200 phones both by standing in bus stops and inside commercial buses. The routes I normally go to are Ajegunle, Iyana Oworo to Ketu, Ketu to Ojota and Oshodi to Mile 2. I operate on Monday, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I also operate at night parties and where there are overnight events.’’
Recovered from the suspects were four mobile phones. Police say suspect has been transferred to the SCID for further investigations.
The Command’s PPRO, Chike Oti sàid that the onslaught against criminal elements still operating in the state is on going and that no criminal would be spared.