…Our targets are occupiers of flats on ground floor
By Evelyn Usman
Every day, robbers device new means to beat security measures put in place by owners of property or security agents in order to ensure easy access during operation.
The latest devise is the use of sticks by robbers to cut burglary proofs fixed on windows and doors, instead of the commonly used saw. This was disclosed by two suspected members of a robbery gang that specialized in invading people’s homes at the wee hours of the day, both in Lagos and Ogun States, dispossessing them of cash, telephones and other valuables.
The suspects: Taiwo Ogunba, 26 and Samuel Adetunji, 22, were arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Lagos State Police Command, and two vehicles recovered from them which were forcefully collected from their owners at gun points, in Mowe area of Ogun state and Abule-Egba area of Lagos. The vehicles were recovered in far away Jos, Plateau and Jigawa states.
Victims recount ordeals
Elated victims who stormed the SARS office, when news of their recovered vehicles reached them, expressed surprise that stolen vehicles that had left the shores of Lagos, could still be recovered.
They were full of praises for the CSP Peter Gana-led unit, especially the victim who was yet to register his newly purchased Toyota Pontiac car.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the four-man gang that evaded his Fagba residence, on May 21, 2019, Mr Segun Oluwabi said, “they broke into my apartment through the louvers from the toilet and ordered us to lie down at gun point. Three of them came inside, took our phones, our children’s clothes, home theater, Plasma television and sales from our recharge card business. They parked everything inside our car, a Toyota Pontiac which I bought a month ago and was yet to register it. Before then, they had beaten me mercilessly because I refused to drop my phone and the car keys”. Continuing from where her husband stopped, Mrs Oluwabi said that while returning home from the shop the previous night, she passed by one of the suspects, whom she said turned to take a second look at her, fixing his gaze on the bag she was carrying.
According to her, “During the operation, one of them whom I saw the previous night, said I should bring the bag he saw me carrying, and I gave it to him. They also went away with my jewelry case and demanded for my wedding ring. They even went away with my husband’s bathroom slippers at the door step”.
Two weeks after, the gang as gathered, stormed another building in Mowe area of Ogun State in a Sienna car, later discovered to have been stolen in an earlier operation same day.
The second victim, Olubowale Ade-Olojobi, said that the gang ordered him to lie faced down. He said, “after collecting my phones and my wife’s, including two lap tops, two ipads, plasma television, my children PS 4, they demanded for the car keys.
“As they were leaving, they locked my wife and I inside one of the rooms, locked our house-help inside the toilet and left my mother in the sitting room. My mother had to open the lock when they left. By the time we came out, we discovered they had left with our Hyundai Elantra car and abandoned the Sienna they came in with”.
The suspects did not deny the statements by the victims when they were interviewed. When asked how they entered the apartment, one of them, Samuel Adetunji, said, “We used sticks to cut the burglary proof. Asked how that was possible, he demonstrated it on a burglary proof fixed on a door around. He said, “We used a two- by-two stick, usually two.
We would place them between the edge of one of the iron and start filing it. Before you know it, it would cut and we will pull that section out, thereby creating a passage through which we would enter and begin operation. This method is better than using saw which usually caused noise and attract victims. We also used this method because we are not with guns. We operated with toy guns. Also, whenever the power generating sets are on, the noise helps us to gain access into apartments because occupants would not even know about our presence until we are already inside.
Why I joined robbery gang
“I live in Iyana Ipaja, where I pay N71,000 as rent. The money realized from robbery was used to rent the apartment. I joined the gang this year through one of the gang members, Ogunba, whom I met at Abattoir, Agege. We started by stealing keke marwa (tricycles) from where they were parked . All we did was to disconnect the wire and drive it away, for onward sale at Mushin. I was selling ram for a man but the money realised was nothing to write home about. I was a footballer, I travelled to Kano state for screening in a club but I did not succeed. I returned in April and was looking for what to do to eke out a living when I met Ogunba”.
We only attack occupants of flats
His partner in crime, 26-year-old Taiwo Ogunba, from Ogun State, stated that their targets were mainly occupants of flats. He also said that they only attacked those on the ground floors. According to the Primary school drop out, “We don’t usually know who these victims are. Before we operate, we would go round the area at night, looking for flats to to rob and then come back when everyone would be sleeping.
We only attacked occupants on the ground floor. We settled for those in flats because we believe they would have what we need, unlike those in ‘face-me-I face-you’ (single room) who usually gave us ‘kpalasa’ phones (low quality ones). The two cars stolen at Mowe and Fagba were sold by Adetunji for N250,000 each and the money was shared between four of us”.
But when the 27-year-old receiver of the stolen vehicles, Isiaku Suleiman, was arrested, he revealed that he gave one of the suspects, Adetunji, N400,000, for each cars, as against N250,000 he(Adetunji) declared to his members. Asked if he was aware that the cars were stolen, Suleiman, who resides in Jos, the Plateu state capital, nodded his head. He said, “I sold them for N900,000 but the market value is almost twice the amount I sold them. Yes, I bought them for N400,000 but Adetunji asked me to tell his colleagues that I bought them for N250,000 each”.
Crime Guard learned that the suspects were arrested through some scientific evidence gathered from the scenes of crime, at SARS operatives’ disposal. Efforts were reportedly still on to arrest other fleeing members of the gang, while the suspects would soon be charged to court.