By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
Two suspected serial pickpockets apprehended by operatives of the Lagos State Special Offonces Enforcement Unit (Taskforce) have revealed that they make as much as N80,000 daily from the criminal act.
They suspects disclosed that they usually disguised, using commercial vehicle as bait to fleece their victims.
The suspects, one Sodiq Olagoke, 25, and Lucas Patrick, 26 were both arrested by operatives of the Agency in the early hours of Tuesday after they had dispossessed eight unsuspecting commuters of their phones around Oshodi/Ikeja Along axis.
The Taskforce officers who made the arrest disclosed that the suspects who were roving the said axis in their Danfo commercial bus looked suspicious and noticed both the driver and the two male passengers seemed uneasy after driving past the officers.
“We kept on their trail for a few minutes before double crossing their vehicle at Oshodi, leading to all three occupants taking to their heels. Two out of the three suspects were arrested with the assistance of passers-by around and we found eight different mobile phones belonging to different unsuspecting passengers who boarded their vehicle”, they said.
Sodiq who claims to be a painter by profession passed down to him from his father said that he has been in the pickpocket business for over a year and boasts of a daily bounty of 80,000 Naira per day which he splits with his partner in crime.
According to the suspect, “We operate mainly on Tuesdays and Fridays because those are the busiest days of the week and there is usually a lot of hustle and bustle at the bus stops”.
“Passengers who make use of their phones while in our bus are usually falsely alerted by the conductor that there is a fight going on in front which would make the passenger pocket the phone then we steal it”, he stated.The second suspect, Lucas Patrick who plays the role of the driver also disclosed that pickpocketing t is a very lucrative business for him.
“We make a lot of money from it but unfortunately we spend our proceeds on drinks, women and gambling”.
“I was originally a driver of a Danfo bus but when I came across Sodiq one day when he operated successfully in my bus I decided to go into partnership with him. I drive him around while he steals the phones from the passengers”.
The Chairmanof the Agency CSP Shola Jejeloye has however vowed that it will make the State Uninhabitable for all criminal elements.
He made the assertion while commenting 9n the arrest of the suspected criminals.
Jejeloye said that the drive to rid Lagos State of all criminal elements will continue to be at the front burner of the Agency.
“We plan to make the State uninhabitable to all criminal elements as the move to wipe criminality out of Lagos is in top gear” he noted.
Jejeloye further enjoined Lagosians to be vigilant and conscious of their environment at all times and ensure that any suspicious moves are reported to the Agency or to the nearest Police Station.
He stated that the Taskforce is seriously on the trail of the buyers of stolen phones as they complete the chain of trade in the illicit pickpocket business. The two suspects will be charged to court