14th August, 2016
The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) have apprehended one Hakeem Fatai, 24, for allegedly stealing 20 car batteries from the premises of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) at Ojota area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The policemen who acted on a tip-off by the LASTMA’s management about the missing batteries from their premises, laid siege for the suspect, and caught him while attempting to remove another battery from an impounded bus.
It was gathered that no fewer than 20 batteries have been removed from the impounded vehicles which were parked inside the premises within a fortnight.
On his arrival at the RRS’ headquarters at Alausa, the suspect confessed to the crime, saying that he operated with an accomplice he identified as ‘Yahoo’, now at large.
According to him¸ “I am responsible for the missing batteries. But I didn’t work alone. We are a two-man syndicate who usually steal batteries. Our targeted vehicle was Volkswagen bus because its batteries can be removed easily without much stress. We don’t usually go for trailer for its battery is protected with burglary.”
The suspect, who was picked-up at about 2:00 a.m. over the weekend, by the operatives, said that he always scaled the agency’s fence to access the compound and remove the batteries while his accomplice stayed outside to watch the surroundings for him.
“We have devised our operation to the extent that no one could suspect us while committing the crime inside the premises. We know the exact time to scale the fence because their security guards are too fond of sleeping. We capitalized on their inefficiency to strike,” he confessed.
Giving account on why he preferred stealing to legitimate work, the suspect revealed: “Immediately after the death of my mother about ten years ago, after a while, my father re-married. And I felt that once he had remarried, he would shift his attention from us to the new wife. So, I decided to abscond from home to fend for my self.
“I went straight to Mile 12 where I met some young boys like me. I have been living in that ghetto since that time. I tried all sort of jobs but I was not deriving pleasure from them. Even before I finally left my father’s home, he had taken me to where I will learn plumbing work at Ajelogo around Mile 12. Despite all that, I wasn’t satisfied.
“At a particular point in time, I felt tired of this life. This prompted my action to be stealing those batteries”.
The suspect, who is a native of Ijebu-Ode, said that he sold each battery for N2, 500 to one battery charger at Ogijo, suburb of Ogun state.
His confessional statement led to the arrest of the receiver of the stolen items, Nofiu Oriade, 46, the following day by the RRS operatives.
The receiver of the stolen batteries who professed ignorant of the crime, said that he never knew those batteries were stolen items.
“I was ignorant of the sources of those batteries. I thought he was a scavenger who picked up any unused items from refuse dumb. I don’t know he was a thief. I have regretted my action for collecting those batteries from him”, he pleaded.
While confirming the arrest of the two suspects, the State Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) Superintendent of Police, Dolapo Badmus, said that the onslaught to rid Lagos off crime activities was yielding more positive results.
The suspects have been transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for further investigation.