We sell stolen inverter batteries for N20,000 each —suspect
By Evelyn Usman
Telecommunication companies and outsourced operators have always complained about their inverter batteries used to power masts being stolen thereby leaving subscribers to bear the brunt of poor network, occasioned by epileptic power supply.
To safe guard these batteries, tracking devices were therefore installed inside the batteries but some of these criminals still found means of destroying the device, at the point of vandalising the inverter batteries.
But like everything that has an end, two members of a suspected gang that specialised in vandalising telecommunication masts were arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.
The suspects: Kazeem Kareem, 27 and Sunday Joseph , 41, were arrested at the Arena Shopping plaza in Oshodi area of Lagos, at about 2.30am, Thursday, at the point of selling six stolen inverters to a ready buyer.
Police sources hinted that they were traced to the spot through the tracking device installed inside two of the stolen batteries
Information at the disposal of Crime Guard had it that the command received information on the invasion of a Mast owned by ATC company in Ikorodu. The Commander, SARS, CSP Peter Gana, was then directed to get the suspects arrested, consequent upon which they were traced to Arena.
In an encounter with the suspects, one of them, Kareem disclosed that he belonged to a gang of four that was responsible for several stolen inverters.
He said, “I joined the gang last year and we were three in the gang; Sunday, Colabo and myself. Since I joined them, we had vandalised telecommunication equipments six times: at Oyingbo, Ijora and Ikorodu areas of Lagos.
“Sunday is the leader of the gang. Anytime we were going for operation, he would contact us on phone to tell us where we would meet. It was his job to look for where telecommunication masts were mounted. Thereafter, he would take us there. During operation, while Colabo and Sunday would be busy removing them from where they were fixed and thereafter bring them to the car, my job was to watch out for intruder or the Police. After vandalising them, we would take them to Arena market where they would be sold for N20,000 or N30,000 each and I would get N20,000 or N25,000.
“We usually went away with all the inverter batteries found which were usually between eight and 12”.
On his part, Sunday claimed he was an Uber driver. He said he went to drop off the suspects only to be arrested. However upon further probe, he disclosed that he had conveyed the suspects twice, from where they vandalised inverter batteries, to where they sold them.
He said, “I work mainly at night, around clubs. They saw me on one occasion and asked me to take them to a place and wait for them outside. On the first day, after taking them to Arena, they paid me N15,000. But they were yet to pay me for this when the police swooped on us. Before the arrival of the police, they (suspects) attempted to remove the tracker from two batteries. Kareem had succeeded in opening the lock to remove the tracker when the police arrived”, said the Oyo- State-born.