The Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command has arrested a suspected pickpocket, Femi Solomon, for allegedly stealing phones from some residents of the state.
The suspect was reportedly arrested on Thursday after stealing a Samsung phone from a commuter during a stampede at a bus stop in the Iyana Oworo area of the state.
The Ogun State indigene was taken to the RRS headquarters at Alausa, Ikeja, where he allegedly confessed to have stolen about 1,200 phones since he went into the crime in August 2016.
The suspect, in his statement to the police, allegedly said he joined a gang of pickpockets in the Obalende area.
The technician said he had been impressed by the attractive outfits of one of his customers, whom he approached for help to improve his standard of living.
He said, “One of my customers, Ismaila, showed me how to be a pickpocket. I noticed he was always coming to Obalende dressed in fine clothes and he had so much money.
“I told him I was looking for a better job and he assured me that he was going to assist me. When he was ready, he said I should follow him, while I learn from him.
“I was following and monitoring what he was doing. We were moving from one bus stop in Lagos to another from morning till evening. He was stealing phones and wallets from passengers inside buses and at bus stops.
“Throughout the six months that I followed him, we picked between six to eight phones and wallets from people. He kept everything to himself; at the end of the day, he gave me between N4,000 and N6,000.
“In August 2016, I started doing it on my own. I wasn’t bold enough to steal during the daytime; besides, I was still inexperienced, so I decided to go out in the evening, since nobody steals at night.”
He said he stole from people from 6pm to 9pm, adding that he always ensured he took about five phones each day.
Solomon said he always sold the stolen items to a friend on the Lagos Island.
“In my rough estimation, I would have stolen 1,200 phones both by standing at 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 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I also operate at night parties and where there are overnight events,” he said.
The RRS said it recovered from the suspect four telephones, adding that he had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, for further investigations.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the clampdown on criminals in the state was ongoing and that none of them would be spared.