|The alleged armed robbers after they were caught|
A 31-year-old suspect arrested for alleged serial car theft Wednesday said he was a kleptomaniac, who had been stealing since his childhood, The Nation reported.
The man identified as Joshua Tabiti, a driver and father of two, was arrested by operatives of the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS) of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone II, Onikan.
He was paraded on Wednesday alongside his alleged accomplices Oluseye Arokoyo, 34, Ahmed Alli, 24 and the receiver of the stolen vehciles, Moses Ofoke, 31. Policemen arrested the gang after their mobile phones were tracked and the police callers told them that they needed cars. A source said that the suspects stole three vehicles the day they were caught, adding that 26 vehciles including 11 traced to Ondo State and three gotten from Delta, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nassarawa States had been recovered.
Although the police claimed the gang had stolen over 26 Toyota Camry cars from Oworoshoki, Bariga and Somolu areas of Lagos, the suspect admitted to have taken part in the theft of about 11 since March.
According to Tabiti, he had done everything possible to quit stealing without success, adding that his parents also tried their best to stop the vice.
He said: “I am a driver with two children. I started doing this job after I was sacked where I worked in Victoria Island. My friend introduced me to car theft in March. I have stolen 11 vehicles from Oworonshoki, Bariga and Somolu.
“What we do is to go out around 2am. A man cuts a master key for us to steal Toyota cars. We open the car and kick-start the ignition. We don’t rob at gunpoint. We got the key for N1000 or N2000.
“After stealing it, we send the cars to Ondo to two buyers. The first car we took was a Nissan Salon car. We sold it for N100,000. The other one was a Toyota Camry which we sold for N200,000.
“Others we sold for N300,000. We were four but three were arrested. The other man has fled. We usually share the money. I used my own money to rent a house and bought household items.
“My wife does not know I steal cars. I have two kids. My wife just knew I was sacked and I was looking for a job. I was sacked after I stole my boss’ N200,000.”
A barber turned robber, Ali said he knew Tabiti at his barbing saloon, adding that the latter lured him into the crime with promise to give him funds for his mother’s memorial.
Ali said: “He came one day and said my shop was boring. I was thinking of how to raise money for my mum’s remembrance when Joshua said he would assist me. The first time he went alone. Other times I followed him. I followed him to Ondo State twice to deliver some of the stolen cars to the receiver.
“He told me about the master key and how they steal the car. We go out around 2am. We always monitor streets to avoid security presence before going to rob.”
A former guard, Ofoke, said he provided information to the gang on streets where vehicles werw parked and there were no security.
He said: “This is my first time of following them. I worked as a security guard before. When the street were no longer paying me I stopped. The barber told me I was always wearing one clothe and he said he could help me out of my situation, He told me I should take them to streets without security. The very first day I followed them was the day we were caught."
Arokoyo, a resident of Igbokoda in Ondo State, said he received seven vehicles from the suspects.
He said: “I am a driver. I sold some of the cars and used others to work. I did not know they were stolen until we were arrested. They told me the vehicles were from customs. One of them said he was a soldier. I bought some of the cars for N100,000 and I sold for N250,000. The ones I bought N300,000, I sold for N400,000.
“It was Joshua who called me that he wanted to sell a vehicle. The numbers he gave me were those of a policeman. And that was how we were arrested.”
Parading the suspects at Obada-Oko in Ogun State, AIG Ibrahim Adamu commended the ZIS operatives for the feat, charging them to sustain the tempo in order to flush criminals off the zone. RECEIVE NEWS UPDATE ON: WHATSAPP +234 701 056 0394, AND TWITTER: @247NGNEWSUPDATE, EMAIL: INFO@247NIGERIANEWSUPDATE.CO FOR INSTANT UPDATES ON INSTAGRAM CLICK HERE Share your story with us: firstname.lastname@example.org PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>