By Evelyn Usman & Faith Ake
Shock and disbelief could best describe the expressions on the faces of customers at a popular hair dressing saloon in Ago, Okota area of Lagos, Tuesday, after one o f the stylists was arrested for allegedly vandalizing vehicle parts.
The 19-year-old suspect, Samuel Emmanuel, was alleged to have vandalized most of the customers cars right under their nose, without their knowledge. He usually went for the vehicle carriers and his target were usually Highlander SUVs.
How he removed the carriers which are usually fixed on top of the SUV remains a mystery to those who have fallen victims , as the cars were usually parked right in front of the saloon.
Emmanuel is, however, not alone in this crime. Arrested alongside him, was Uchenna Nwosu, who specialized in removing chromes from parked vehicles, particularly Highlander SUV’s and Toyota Corolla cars.
Crime Guard investigation revealed that their likes are spread in high brow areas where residents use Pathfinder SUV’s, Toyota Corolla and other posh cars. The suspects confessed that they sold these parts at the popular Ladipo market in Mushin local government area, at give away prices.
One-man thieving squad
When approached, 19-year-old Emmanuel revealed that he left his stylist work for this criminal job out of greed. He said “ I run a one-man squad. I do not have any partner. I was introduced into this business by a friend whom I approached to lend me some money. He took me out on operation once, to watch how he removed chromes from parked SUV’s. We succeeded in stealing from six vehicles . At the end, he gave me N5000, an amount that takes me one or two weeks to make in the saloon. I started with the customer’s cars and graduated to the neighborhood.
How I operate
“What I do is, anytime I sight a Highlander SUV, I would wait until it is parked. Thereafter, I would act as if I was pressed and go close to the vehicle. First, I would unscrew the plastic knot before pulling it out. Thereafter, I would take it to a safe place, keep it and come back next day for onward sale at Ladipo.
Most times, vehicle owners would never take note until few days later . By then, they won’t know where it got missing. I decided to leave my stylist work for this business after a while. I never knew I would be caught so soon because I wanted to raise some money to buy equipment to open my own saloon. I only started three months ago. The owner of the vehicle I removed the carrier saw me climbing and raised an alarm . I sold a set of carrier for N10,000 at Ladipo market , “said the Senior Secondary School Certificate holder.
Second suspect speaks
On his part, Uchenna Nwosu (36) said “I specialize in removing chromes from Highlander SUV’s and Corolla cars. This is because they can be easily disposed at Ladipo. I sold to traders and at times, to hustlers. I sold a set of chrome for N4000 . It does not take a big deal to remove it.
And it is not hard to sell since there are no inscriptions on them. Even if you see yours in the market, you will not be able to identify them because there are no marks or identification on them. I started it eight months ago because of hardship. I was a bus conductor until the owner of the bus sold it. I found it difficult to feed my family and was therefore, left with no choice than to take to this shady business, for I couldn’t stand my baby crying for food. I knew it is bad to steal but I beg to be forgiven,”
The suspects, according to Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni , would be charged to court soon.