A phone bandit arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State police command has confessed that he has stolen over 1,200 phones from commuters since he joined a pickpocket gang.
The suspect, Femi Solomon, from Ogun State, was arrested last Thursday by RRS operatives at Iyana Oworo, Lagos, after stealing a phone from a commuter in a bus stampede at the bus-stop.
Solomon, an auto technician, noted that he joined a pickpocket gang in Obalende, where he was ushering people to buy used cloth popularly called Okrika.
According to him, one of his customers, Ismaila, who was about 50-years-old, introduced him to the gang. “I noticed he was coming to Obalende finely dressed with so much money.
I told him I was looking for a better job opportunity, and he assured me that he was going to assist me with one. And when he was going to introduced me to one, he said I should be following him, while I learn from him”.
“I was following him from behind and monitoring what he was doing. We were moving from one bus stop in Lagos to the other from morning till evening. He was stealing phones and wallets from passengers inside bus and at bus-stops.
“Throughout the six months I followed him, we could pick six to eight phones and wallets from people without them knowing in a day. He kept everything to himself, but at the end of the day, he would give me between N4,000 to N6,000 depending on his mood.
“In August 2016, I started on my own. I wasn’t bold enough to pick pocket during the day. Besides, I was still new and inexperienced, so I decided to go out every evening. I start operation at 6:00p.m. and end at 9:00p.m.
My target is between four to five mobile phones in a day. Once I am able to hit that figure, I stop operation and retire for the day. I sell the phones to a friend in Lagos Island.
“In my rough estimation, I would have stolen 1,200 phones both by standing in Lagos bus stops and inside commercial buses. The routes I normally go to are Ajegunle, Iyana Oworo to Ketu, Ketu to Ojota and Oshodi to Mile 2. I operate everyday except Thursdays and Sundays. I also operate at night parties and overnight events,” he narrated.