By Evelyn Usman
Operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS, Lagos State Police Command, have arrested a suspected member of a robbery gang who withdrew N350,000 through a phone stolen from a food vendor in Mushin area of Lagos.
The gang, specialised in dispossessing victims of phones for the purpose of getting their account details and making withdrawals without the account holder’s knowledge.
To get victims’ phones, the syndicate liaises with pick pockets who steal phones and bring the SIM cards to them, for a fee.
One of the pick pockets, Tajudeen Alamu, who posed as a customer, allegedly stole a Techno K7 phone, worth N40, 000, from a food vendor at Ladipo Street, Monday.
After retrieving another SIM, owner of the phone, Essien Gloria, was stunned when she received a debit alert of N350,000, consequent upon which the matter was reported at the state’s Police headquarters.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, immediately directed operatives of the FSARS led by the Commander, Mr. Peter Gana, to go on the trail of the suspect.
The stolen phone was traced to one Pelumi Adekunle in Mushin, who during interrogation, revealed that her husband, Alamu, gave her the phone.
In this interview, Alamu, a cobbler, admitted to have stolen the phone but said he never got a dime from the money withdrawn from the account.
He said: “Yes, I took the phone from where it was placed on a table in the buka (Roadside food eatery). I removed the SIM card, took it to where some ‘boys’ usually gathered.
“I gave it (SIM card) to Ganiyu but I did not collect anything from him. When I went to visit my wife, she said she liked the phone and collected it from me.
“Ganiyu, told me he would take the SIM card to Machingo, who will check if there was money in there. He was with two other SIM cards. He left me in his house for Machingo’s place.
“He said they usually meet in a hotel at Ogunukun Street, Mushin. But he later informed me that Machingo said there was nothing on the SIM, unknown to me that they purchased recharge cards worth over N190,000 from the bank’s mobile app that was stored in the phone.
“They have all fled, leaving me to bear the consequence alone.”