By Ifeanyi Okolie
Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Lagos State, have arrested a gang of car snatchers suspected of terrorizing Ikeja and other parts of the state for a long time. The suspects, Sadiq Olayibi, Tolani Adeyinka, Adeleke Teslim and Olayemi Akiloye, met their waterloo when SARS operatives swooped on them at various parts of the state. Olabiyi described himself as a kid robber who graduated to a full blown car snatcher. Also arrested was a 50-year-old woman, Lawal Ireti, who was described as the gang’s informant.
Police sources said Ireti provided other jobs for the gang when they were not snatching cars. According to the sources, the woman suspect provided information to the gang that led to the robbery of the N8 million from a micro finance bank in Ogba area of Ikeja.
“The gang specialized in car snatching and they terrorized Ikeja and environs for a lng time. They operated during the weekends and their targets were exotic cars. Their activities gave the police, residents and night crawlers in Ikeja sleepless nights and the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, in his bid to stem the gang’s operation, ordered the officer in charge of SARS, SP, Abba Kyari, to trail and apprehend the bandits.
Kyari, who swiftly swung into action, sent undercover operatives into streets to shop for stolen vehicles. Their efforts paid off when they stumbled on oen of the gang members who attempted to sell a stolen Toyota Camry to the undercover operatives. He was arrested and his arrest pave the way for the arrest of other members of the gang including Ireti the 50-year-old woman”, one of the sources told Sunday Vanguard.
The source added that members of the gang got wind of the arrest of their member and they made effort to flee the country. “We arrested Tolani Adeyinka, at the South Africa Embassy, after he had secured a visa to flee the country. Sadiq Olabiyi was picked up at Ajah area of the state, he has also applied for a visa to tavel to Egypt. Adeleke Teslim and Olayemi Akiloye were picked separately at Ojo and Okokomaiko areas of the state,” the source narrated.
Meanwhile, when Sunday Vanguard interviewed the suspects at Lagos State Command Headquarters, Ikeja, they confessed to the crime, but Olabiyi blamed his involvement in crime to lack of prper training. The 27 year-old man said, “I am the first child of my parents. My father did not have a good job, which made us very poor. I was born in Ketu. As a young boy, I used to go to the market at Mile 12 to assist some people selling stolen goats. I usually helped them to offload the goats from their vehicles and, from there, I learnt how to drive.
When I graduated from secondary school, I joined the business full time. I stole several goats, I would travel to some south western states to steal goats. While I was doing that, I met Tolani Adeyinka. He and Adeleke Teslim and one other had started snatching cars then. They knew I was a good driver; so they asked me to join them. We stole a lot of cars together and we operated mostly in Ikeja, Ogba and Agege areas.
We usually struck weekends when fun seekers were on the streets grooving and our targets were mostly Toyota, Honda and Mercedes Benz cars. We had ready buyers all over the state and we would deliver a stolen car to any of the buyers who make the highest bid. We sold Toyota cars for N250,000 and Honda Accord from N300,000. I got between N100,000 and N150,000 after each operation, I spent my money on myself, I bought good clothes, rented an apartment at Ajah and bought a land at Ikorodu, where I am building a three-bedroom flat apartment.
But sometime in July, Ireti brought us a job where we stolen the sum of N8 million from a micro fiance bank. I don’t know the name of the bank but she and a male partner brought the job to us. I thought they were police informants trying to set me up and I ignored their calls from close to two weeks. When I finally met them at a bar in Ikotun they told me that they got my phone number from one of my friends who told them I could do the job.
The job was at Ikeja and they asked us to wait soemwhere for the car conveying the money to pass. Ireti was there to point the car for us. After she did, we followed the car alongn Ogba and double crossed it. I was the one driving. Tolani Adeyinka and Adeleke Teslim bolted out with their guns and they snatched the bag containing the money and all the occupants’ mobile phones before we zoomed off. We shared the money equally, four million naira went to Ireti and her partner and my gang shared the rest. I got one million naira as my own share.”