•We’ve been to prison 5 times
•Stolen goods sold at give-away prices
By Ifeanyi Okolie
Traders at the Kaduna Metropolis, who had been at the mercy of a three-man robbery gang that specialized in breaking into retail shops, boutiques and electronic show rooms across Kaduna State can now sleep with their two eyes closed following the arrest of the gang members by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT,
Vanguard gathered that the suspects, identified as Haladu Idris, Mohammed Zakari and Manniru Umaru, had in the last three years brought tears and agony on several shop owners around Constitution Road, Central Market, Ahmadu Bello Way, Sokoto Road, Abeokuta Road, Junction road and other parts of Kaduna State. But they met their waterloo recently after they broke into Chizon Plaza, a popular store at the Central Market on Ahmadu Bello Way where brand new expensive mobile phones were sold and carted away 228 pieces of assorted mobile phones, valued at N15million, on November 26, 2016.
It was gathered that the owner of the Plaza, one Cyprian Obi, reported to the police at Sabongari division in Kaduna of his burgled shop and the matter was transferred to the office of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for further investigation. The IGP then directed his operatives at the IRT led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to trail and apprehend all the suspects involved in the matter.
A source at the IRT, disclosed that the operatives through the aid of advanced technology at their disposal, tracked a user of one of the stolen mobile phones to Zamf ara State and when the user was arrested, he claimed to have bought the phone from a store in Royal Plaza. He then led the operatives to the plaza where the person who sold the phone to him was arrested and confessed to have bought the phone from a receiver of stolen goods. The receiver, who was also arrested then led the police in arresting all the robbers who broke into the Chizon Plaza.
According to the source, the suspects confessed to have stolen goods worth over N20million from several shops they broke into around the Kaduna Metropolis and sold most of the goods to Yahaya Umaru, Musa Ibrahim and Bashiru Musa, at give away prices, between 2014 and 2016. They confessed to have stolen 10 English Dogs, from the owners in Banarawa and Jamaru areas of Kaduna, which they sold for N100,000 each to their buyers. They also broke into a shop on Abeokuta Road and stole cables worth over N5million as well as over 20 motorcycles.
The robbers who disclosed how they operated said they used tools such as pincers and hammer to pull down the walls of the shops. They all admitted to have been remanded in prison custody on five different occasions.”
Why I went into robbery—gang leader
When the suspects were interviewed, 39-year old Haledu Idris from Kano state, who was described as the leader of the gang said he formed the gang 10-years ago after quitting his shoe-polishing business because he wasn’t making enough money. He said, “I have spent 13 years in Kaduna State, I was a shoe shiner. I went into stealing eight years ago and I started stealing motorcycles. I got Zakari who was my customer involved because I convinced him that we could make good money from stealing. We stole more than seven motorcycles and sold them between N40,000 and N50,000, but that amount wasn’t enough for us, I then suggested we should go into breaking of shops.
We went to a shop on Constitution road in December 2014, where we stole all the expensive wrappers and laces in the shop and sold them for N36,000. After that we went to another shop near Kaduna State Stadium where sport wears are sold and stole all the goods in the shop. We shared the goods equally, I sold mine for N55,000 while Zakari sold his for N75,000. We also attacked a shop on Kontagora Road and took away seven brand new plastma television sets which we sold for N106,000.
We also broke into another sport materials shop on Junction Road, we packed everything in the shop and shared the goods into two. I sold my own share for N41,500, while Mohammed sold his for N30,000. We then broke into a boutique on Sokoto Road and stole all the goods in the shop, we shared it equally and I sold my share for N120,500. We also went to LG Show Room on Constitution Road where we stole over 10 mobile phones and N400,000 cash from the shop. From there we went to a Samsung Show Room on the same road and made away with three laptop computers and the sum of N100,000 from the shop.
We shared the cash we got from these shops equally and we sold the goods at give away prices. But at our next operation which was at a sport betting shop at Orukopata area of Kaduna, we were arrested when people heard noise from the shop as we attempted to break into it. We were taken to Magaji-Geri Police Station, from where we were charged to court and remanded in prison. We spent eight months in prison before we were granted bail. As at that time, we had more than seven different charges against us across seven courts in Kaduna State.
Some courts had granted us bail while others set us free. In September 2016, we teamed up with Manniru who we met in prison and we went to Bandawa and made away with three laptops, a stabilizer, we also went to another shop on Sokoto Road, and we stole several gold jeweleries. It was at Chizon plaza on Ahmadu Bello way where we stole N228 pieces of phone and N400,000 cash. The phones were worth over 14million. After that we went to Kemsen plaza on constitution road and stole eight brand new laptops and a phone before I was arrested.” he narrated.
Stolen goods sold at give-away prices—Umaru
In his own confession, 27-year-old Manniru Umaru, from Kaduna North Local Government Area, who spoke English language fluently said: “I met Haladu and Zakari in prison when I was remanded for stealing seven motorcycles. We were in the same cell in the prison and when we were discussing and I narrated what led to my arrest, they told me that stealing motorcycles would not bring fast money and that I should join their gang. I left the prison before them and when they came out, they looked for me.
That was in September 2016. In our first outing together, we broke into a shop at Banawa area of Kaduna and stole three plasma television sets and stabilizers which we sold for N70,000. We also robbed a shop on Sokoto Road, Kaduna where we stole 29 pieces of expensive wrappers and cloth materials, necklaces and wristwatches. I was given eight pieces of wrappers, three gold necklaces and three gold wristwatches. I sold the gold necklaces to someone for N500 each because I did not know that they were gold.
I also sold one of the wrist watches for N3000, and kept one to myself while I gave out the last one to a friend as a gift. I also didn’t know that the wristwatches were gold. I sold the wrappers for N1,500 each to someone, without knowing that they were far more expensive than that. My third operation was at the Chizon Plaza at Ahmadu Bello Central Maket where we stole 228 phones. I was given 73 pieces as my share and I sold 40 pieces to one Yahaya Umar who gave me the sum of N300,000 cash.
I also sold three pieces of the phones to one Ejike who paid me N42,000. I sold the rest to my gang member, Mohammed who gave me N30,000 because I needed money and I didn’t know who to sell the phones to. I was arrested after the police arrested one Musa who Mohammed sold his own share of the phones to. He took the police to my place and I was arrested. I have been to prison five times. On four occasions I was in prison for stealing motorcycles while I was remanded on the fifth occasion for beating up a woman. Each time I was arrested and taken to prison, I was usually admitted on bail and if I didn’t get bail I would be discharged later by the court”.