By OKOSUN DENNIS
Several phone snatchers, robbers and pick-pockets have been arrested by Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command in Oshodi area.
Investigation revealed that the group operate particularly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at peak moments, when they snatch valuables from people with delight and dexterity.
With unknown abode, some are said to sleep at the motor parks and Under the Bridge at Oshodi, while some of them migrated from Mushin and Sango daily to pickpocket and snatch phones and wallets in Oshodi.
After stealing victims phones, the stolen phones end up in Akala, Mushin or Computer Village, Ikeja as London used phones, repackaged and polished and sold to unsuspecting phone users.
“They live and survive stealing phones through pickpocketing and snatching of mobile phones from commuters in commercial buses and private cars.
“They walk the length and breadth of Oshodi at dawn, afternoon and night in search of victims,” the police said.
National Daily gathered that these bad boys who are between the ages of 16 to 30 years and their hot spots are at Bolade bus stop, from Under the Bridge at Oshodi to Oshodi Oke, are their hot spots.
Police intelligence also revealed that “they are always difficult to identify until they have accomplished their mission – steal phones and disappear from the scene immediately.”
Besides, it was learnt that when they are not stealing phones in the day, they are said to be engaging occasionally at night, robbing people in groups often wielding weapons and stripping their victimsof any valuable.
The RRS Commander, ACP Tunde Disu disclosed that the criminals trail and monitor their targetstill he or she makes the costly mistake of making a call or positions himself or herself appropriately to be pick pocketed.
Explaining that the Lagos State Police Command has been able to drastically reduce the crime rate in Lagos, acknowledged that substantial number of these phone thieves still thrive in Oshodi.
It was also learnt that some traders in Oshodi know theses criminals and in most occasions see them in action, but are afraid to confront them because of fear of reprisal attacks.
Some of those arrested, who have confessed to the crime, explained that almost on daily basis shows that they are always in relentless search of victims.
Their mode of operation, it was further disclosed, include “endearing you to themselves in order to steal from you. Most times, they pretend to be helping you either to carry your load or get into bus while they stylishly steal your valuables.”
Expressing their frustration, the RRS said, “It is challenging, no matter how many of them have been arrested, they always return, regroup and retrain themselves on their new found tactics.
“However, RRS is not relenting. Our officers are strategically positioned in Oshodi Oke, Under Bridge and Bolade, monitoring them.
The RRS, therefore, warned members of the public to be watchful as the “restless phone thieves are always on the prowl,” RRS reiterated.