Car Theft: Police Arrest Herbalist, 25 Other Suspects in Rivers

Car Theft: Police Arrest Herbalist, 25 Other Suspects in Rivers

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Police Command has paraded a herbalist and 25 other suspects arrested for series of car theft and other criminal activities across the state

Parading the suspects yesterday at the state Police headquarters on Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Olatunji Disu, said the suspects are responsible for the about 79 cars stolen from the state.

The commissioner of police, who expressed joy over the arrest of the suspects, revealed that one of the suspects, a herbalists, who prepared charm for the criminals before operations, was also apprehended and is helping in investigation.

One of their achievements, according to Disu, was the arrest of the gang leader of car snatchers, who he said has trained so many persons into the crime. He said the suspects, after stealing the cars, take them to Anambra and Kano States for sale.

The CP said: “For some time now, we noticed that a lot of cars have been stolen and some robbed. So we tasked officers of our tactical team to investigate it. I am very happy to inform you that about 26 suspects specialised in stealing vehicles and robbing them have been arrested.”

He also disclosed the suspects’ areas of operation include Akpajo, Eleme Junction, Trailer Park, Eleme, Owerri, Aba and Onitsha, adding that the Police Command greatest joy was the arrest of Chidozie  Onyekwe, leader of the gang, and Kelechi Uzogwe, a mechanic who specialises in removing tracker from stolen cars.

“Chidozie is the leader of persons who come into Rivers State to steal cars. Not only does he come in here, he trains personnel. He is linked to all the suspects who have been arrested at one time or the other for this same offence of stealing cars. He ensured that his men are well trained before he brought them to perpetrate crime here.

“At the same time, Kelechi Uzogwe is an expert in removing trackers in vehicles. Almost all the vehicles stolen from Rivers State must passed through Kelechi to remove the trackers. He is also a wonderful mechanic,” he said.

The police boss told the journalists at the parade that: “Most of these cars stolen were taken to Anambra and Kano State and some of them find their ways out of the country. The cars were taken to ‘Mmbuka’ in Obosi, Onitsha, where they are dismembered in pieces and sell as scraps.

“In total, 79 vehicles have been linked to all these suspects paraded here. Most of the suspects met themselves while they were in the Correctional Centre, and about five of them are ex-convicts. They have a lot of spear keys that have been recovered from them, they also use master keys to move the vehicles away,” he stated.

The commissioner of police further stated that “fire arms have been recovered, and they are here for you to see. This is a very happy moment for us. 26 car snatchers arrested, other ones are still at large. You can imagine them doing their trade in the state. Just between late last year and early this year, they have been able to remove 79 vehicles from the state.”

Some of the suspects that spoke with journalists confessed to the crime.

Chidozie, who was accused of being the gang leader of car0snatching syndicate, said: “But it is not true. I am not the kingpin. I am a buyer, when they give me car, I buy. When I buy it, I take it to Onitsha to sell. I buy from Kelechi and one Tommy. They are the ones that normally give me cars, these are stolen cars.”

When asked the amount he pays for each of the car he bought from his alleged team members, Chidozie said: “It depends on the car, if it is Camry tiny light, I buy it N250, 000 or N300,000 and sell them at N430 to N450 thousands. I bought up to 15 vehicles, all the cars are from Rivers State and I sold all of them in Onitsha where they butchered them.”

Chidozie who regretted his actions, said: “It’s because of my sick mother; she had an accident and was taken to India for brain surgery, that was what led me into it. Since then, about two years now, I have been in the business. My mother is back, she has been treated; I paid for the treatment and charity organisations also contributed to her treatment.”

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