Three Beninnois, who specialise in trailing and snatching the cars of Lagosians, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, alongside the native doctor that prepares charms for them for each operation.
The cross border car snatching syndicate were said to have operated with the backing of their native doctor, one Rasheed Akinola, who also admitted to being the armourer to the gang.
The suspects who specialise in snatching exotic vehicles in Nigeria and moving them to Cotonou in Benin Republic, include 30-year-old Ajagba Hammed, alias John T, 35-year-old Tobinju Potel, alias Popo and 30-year-old Botan Remmy.
While parading the suspects, the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said the cross border crime suspects, specialise in snatching exotic cars in Nigeria and driving it to Benin Republic to sell.
He said the suspects were arrested alongside a native doctor who specialise in doing charms for them before each operations.
Recovered from the suspects were an AK-47 rifle, 43 AK-49 ammunitions, one locally made cut to size double barrel, six life cartridges, one licensed plate number and assorted charms.
Imohimi while narrating how the two victim’s car were snatched by the gang at gun point in Victoria Island and Ikoyi, said the first victim, one Olayinka Oyebola, had gone to use an ATM when his Toyota Prado jeep was taken.
The second Prado jeep belonging to one Fidel Onwodi had stopped along Kingsway Road with his wife for beef barbecue, when it snatched after gang abandoned Oyebola’s vehicle because they suspected it had a tracker.
According to Edgal, the criminals confined the couple to the back seat but Mrs. Onwodi took advantage of gridlock and jumped off the vehicle before they got to Third Mainland Bridge.
The police chief said an AK47 marked PE-2473; 43 AK49 live ammunition; a locally made cut to size double barrel gun; six live cartridges, a licence plate number JD697KJA and assorted charms were recovered from them.
Edgal said: “The criminals stripped their first victim, Oyebola naked, took him to Ajah/Epe road and pushed him off the vehicle. They made way with his smart phone and N45,000 which he withdrew from the Zenith Bank Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at Ajose Adeogun.
“The criminals continued their journey until they got to Ikoyi, opposite Southern Sun Hotel, where they sighted another Toyota Prado SUV marked ABC853LK driven by Fidel Onwodi accompanied by his wife.
“The couple had parked to buy beef barbecue. The robbers parked beside Onwodi’s SUV and ordered the couple to move to the rear of the car.
“The man’s wife summoned courage and jumped off the moving vehicle. She took advantage of the slow traffic on the road. The criminals continued moving and abandoned her husband on Third Mainland Bridge.
“They made away with his SUV while that of Oyebola was parked at a location in Babatunde Crescent, Oniru, where undercover operatives of the command recovered it.
“The suspects confessed to series of robbery operations in which exotic cars were snatched at gunpoint. They also confessed that Onwodi’s car was in Cotonou. Investigation is ongoing.
“The suspects have owned up to the crime and are assisting the police with information that would help in recovering the Prado SUV presently in Cotonou and arrest of other gang members.”
In his confession, the native doctor said he usually smuggles the gang’s weapons into Nigeria through bush paths, adding that they paid him N15,000 for the job, adding that he eas also responsible for the charms used by the gang over the years.
He said: “They came to my place in Port-Novo to collect charms to protect them during robbery. I collected CFA 30,000 for the charm. I have also helped them to cross arms through Idiroko for N15,000 per transaction.
“I have only done that twice. The charm protects them and opens the way for them. I was arrested at Mile Two.”
The gang leader, Hammed said he usually got the guns from one Benedict, a car dealer in Cotonou, adding that the aforementioned was his godfather.
He said, “We just snatch exotic cars and take them to the dealer who gives us any amount he deems fit. It was polo who called us to come and rob this year. We have snatched two cars this year.”