The Lagos State Task Force has arrested two men suspected to be specialists in picking pockets of commercial vehicle passengers on the road.
The two suspects; Sodiq Olagoke, 25, and Lucas Patrick, 26, who confessed to making an average of N80,000 daily from their operations, took advantage of the rush and confusion in commercial vehicles to pick the wallets and other valuables from the pockets of their victims.
The agency’s spokesperson, Abdulraheem Gbadeyan, in a statement, said that the suspects were arrested after they had dispossessed eight unsuspecting commuters of their phones at Oshodi/Ikeja axis. Gbadeyan said that the officers, who made the arrest, explained that the suspects looked suspicious.
“Our men noticed that both the driver and the two male passengers seemed uneasy after driving past them (officers).
“Our officers trailed them for a few minutes and later blocked their vehicle at Oshodi; immediately they sighted our men, the three occupants of the bus took to their heels.
“Two of them were arrested with the assistance of people around, and eight mobile phones stolen from unsuspecting passengers who boarded their vehicle were found on them,” the statement said.
It quoted Olagoke, a painter, as confessing that he had been in the pickpocket business for over a year and makes 80,000 Naira per day which he usually share with his partner.
“Olagoke said that they operate mainly on Tuesdays and Fridays because those are the busiest days of the week and there is usually a lot of hustle and bustle at the bus stops
“He said that passengers, who make use of their phones while in their bus, are usually falsely alerted that there is a fight going on in front which would scare them into pocketing the phones that would then be stolen.”
Gbadeyan said that the second suspect, Patrick, a driver, also disclosed that pickpocketing was a very lucrative business for him.
“Patrick said that they make a lot of money from it, but lavish everything on drinks, women, and gambling.
“He said he was originally a driver of a commercial bus but when he met Olagoke, after a successful pickpocket operation in his (Patrick)’s bus, he decided to go into partnership with him by driving him around while Olagoke steals the phones from the passengers.”
Gbadeyan said that the agency’s Chairman, CSP Shola Jejeloye, had vowed to make Lagos uninhabitable for all criminal elements.
He advised Lagos residents to be vigilant and conscious of their environment at all times and ensure that suspicious moves were reported to the Agency or to the nearest Police Station.
“The Taskforce is on the trail of the buyers of stolen phones as they complete the chain of trade in the illicit pickpocket business; we shall do everything to rid Lagos of miscreants,” he said.
The statement said that the two suspects would soon be charged to court. (NAN)