Six suspects belonging to three different gangs, who were arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command, Sunday, blamed the economic downturn for their foray into crime, as well as the low ebb of successful operations. While the duo of 24-year-old Adeleke Rasaq and 22-year-old Lucky John, were arrested at the Abule Egba, Agbado Oke Local Council Development Area, the second gang, comprising 26-year-old Ubuke Michael and 24-year-old Obinna Okoro, were arrested in Gbagada. Others including 25-years-old Steven Raphael and 27-year-old Samali Onafuwa, were arrested in Fagba at Station Bus Stop, Ishaga. The suspects who specialise in either pickpocketing or ‘one chance’ ( picking up passengers and dispossessing them of their belongings) were caught after a successful operation. One of the suspects, Adeleke, who said he resigned as a factory worker to join one – chance robbery gang said, “We don’t make much money like before. The present economic condition in the country has greatly affected one chance business.
“We have not been able to make much money, everywhere is dry. We have not made much money since Monday. We have been sharing N20, 000, N30, 000 and N40, 000. Unlike before, when I operate alone, I could make close to N150, 000 daily. I teamed up with Lucky because pickpocketing is not easy in Lagos these days. When you toil alone, you might not make much. It has not been easy working independently lately. So, we have to team up to mlake more money to survive. “Both of us live in Badagry and everyday, we come to Abule Egba, Agege, Fagba, Egbeda to operate. As soon as we made enough money, we would retire for the day.” The second gang, Ubuke and his partner, Okoro, were arrested in Gbagada after their operational bus with the registration number, FST 890 XM, had picked up two passengers who were going to Alaba International Market and Ladipo Spare Part Market to buy goods.
Ubuke, the leader of the gang, said he invited his friend who is a bus driver and hid a conductor to join his group in one – chance operation.
He said, “Since my friend and his conductor are familiar with the operation. I have so many commercial buses that I can call for operation. I call them to join me at a particular location.
“The driver and conductor do their normal work while we collect belongings of the passengers, drop them off and pass them to the driver to hold on. The two passengers in the bus were our victims.
“ One of them came out of bank before boarding our bus while another has bulky pockets. We were about to collect their belongings when we were arrested. We don’t normally carry more than two passengers during operations.
“Whatever we make we share with the driver and the conductor but our share is normally more than theirs. It is so unfortunate the driver and conductor of our operational danfo bus escaped.”
Confirming the incidents, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said there would be no hiding place for criminals in the state.
She said the suspects would be charge to court when investigations are completed, adding that the six suspects had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) for further investigation.