By Evelyn Usman
Seeking the service of a chauffeur driver ? Then you have to be extra careful because robbers who specialized in snatching vehicles have devised this method in carrying out their nefarious act.
This warning is coming on the heels of a recent arrest of a four -man robbery gang who was at the verge of tampering with the engraved number on a stolen Nissan SUV jeep in a mechanic workshop in Olodi Apapa area of Lagos.
The suspects who usually pose as drivers Crime Alert learn t, would submit their applications to any company or individual only to strike hours after being employed.
The prime suspect identified as Idowu Ayodele, in their characteristic manner applied for the post of a driver to one Babatunde Ayodele on August 3,2011with an agreed monthly payment of N20,000.
Barely had he dropped his boss in his office next day, than he showed his true colour by driving the vehicle out of the premises ,after lying to the security men that his boss sent him on an errand. Looking exhausted after the day’s work, unsuspecting Ayodele reportedly called Idowu on his phone to inform him to get the car ready, only to discover that his phone was switched off.
Thereafter , he went to the car park where he discovered to his consternation that his Nissan SUV car with plate number EF 927 KSF was not in its usual position.
Again , he tried Idowu’s number to no avail. His fear was confirmed when one of the security men informed him that Idowu left the premises nine hours ago. Looking stunned with his car keys still in his hand, Ayodele could not in his wildest imagination bring himself to the reality that his car was gone!
But the good news is that the car was later recovered at a mechanic workshop in Oyewole street in Olodi Apapa area of Lagos,where Idowu and three suspected members of his gang were at the verge of engraving new plate number on it.
Operatives of the State Criminal Investigation Department( (SCID) in whose custody the suspects currently are, said the car was recovered with the help of a car tracking device.
The operatives explained that “ When it dawned on the owner that his car had been stolen, he quickly contacted the car tracking company who immediately swung into action and tracked the vehicle down to the mechanic workshop.
When they discovered the location, they went to report the finding at Ajeromi police station where some policemen were drafted to the workshop. Idowu and his accomplices who were in the workshop had already removed some parts including the plate number”.
During preliminary investigation, the operatives discovered that Idowu applied for the job with a fake name. One of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “ He gave his name as John Balogun He also claimed to be a member of Deeper Life Church, Ebute Metta district.
But all that was discovered to be lies. He only used that to make the man believe him. We also discovered he gave the man a wrong address” Idowu in his confessional statement to the policemen stated that “We normally send one of our gang members out to go and apply for the job of a driver with somebody who owns an expensive Toyota or Nissan SUV.
Our member applies with fake name, address and phone number. Immediately he is employed he would find his way at all cost to drive the vehicle to our base here, from where we will change the parts. After that, we will sell it and share the proceeds”.
Asked if they had a particular buyer, he shook his head, saying the buyers were usually not aware that the cars were stolen. Items recovered at the workshop according to the operatives, included some duplicated ignition keys of Nissan and Toyota cars, forged customs papers and tools used to dismantle stolen vehicles.