Police Smash Car Stealing Syndicate

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Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

The new Commissioner of Police in Abia State, Mr. Adeleye Oyebade has hit the ground running as barely 24 hours after he assumed duties, a criminal gang spealising in stealing cars was paraded following their arrest. Parading the two-man gang that had used master key to steal Toyota Camry cars which they sold to their customer, the CP issued a stern warning to criminals operating in Abia, saying he would make it impossible for them to engage in their nefarious activities.

“This is a new dawn of policing in Abia state; we will not give any room for criminals to operate,” he vowed, adding “I am here to work and we are not going to sniff out all criminals operating in Abia”. Oyebade said the gang met their waterloo after stealing a black Toyota Camry marked FT 953 LSR at Ohafia.

The owner of the vehicle, Ikenna Ngwoke told THISDAY that he had parked his car and went on condolence visit to the house of a relative where a burial ceremony was going on only to come out and found his car gone. The two suspects who gave their names as Pastor Chibunna Onyenweaku, 33, from Ezinihite in Imo state and Princewill Nnabugwu, 42 from Isiala Ngwa, Abia state, said they have been friends before they went into crime. Pastor Onyenweaku said they had stolen and sold six Toyota Camry cars in a spate of 10 months, adding that he has a ready buyer in Port Harcourt who also provided him with the master key which he used in unlocking vehicles. Onyenweaku told journalists that he is “a real pastor” and presides over the Redeemed Assembly Church at Elu Ohafia but noted that “it was “temptation” that drove him into crime despite founding his church over two years ago. A poster the police found on him showed the name and picture of the suspect listed as guest speaker at a five-day crusade that held between February 19 and 23, 2014 at the Apostolic Church Ezeke Assembly Amasiri District, Afikpo North local government of Ebonyi State. Onyenweaku said he was a regular speaker at crusades organised by different pentecostal churches even though he had other calling of stealing Toyota Camry cars, which according to him, a ready buyer in Port Harcourt paid him N60,000 per vehicle.

The pastor’s partner in crime, Nnabugwu said the had been caught in January and charged to court but regained his freedom after the case was discontinued but he could not resist going back into crime. Earlier in his maiden address on assumption of office, Oyebade said he was committed to implementing the policy thrust of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, adding that there is no doubt that “the Force has started a process of wearing a human face.” He said he has come back to Abia (after leaving as Deputy Commissioner of Police), and would strive hard to ensure that God’s own state is made peaceful for residents and for businesses to thrive. He said: “My charge to officers and men of this Command is that they should perform their duties with the fear of God. We must be very firm but fair. We must respect he fundamental human rights of eh citizens of the state. We must remain shinning examples of valour, gallantry and sacrifice in eh overall interest of the public in the discharge of our constitutional responsibility”. The new CP stated that while the Abia Command would do its best to reduce crime to the barest minimum it required the support and cooperation of the public because present day policing has become a “collective responsibility” of all well meaning persons. “My experience over the years is that when you are close to eh people you are policing, useful information is gathered and that there is reciprocal trust and confidence between eh police and he people,” he said.