I joined robbery gang because my shop was demolished- barber - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

I joined robbery gang because my shop was demolished- barber

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By Aremu Sosanya

Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS Lagos State Police Command have arrested an Uber driver, Andrew Valentino, 38, who used his car for ‘ Catch-in-the –air’ robbery, otherwise known as one chance, dispossessing unsuspecting passengers of their cash, phones, and valuables.

He is not alone. He confessed to be operating with the trio of Tony Onwoluwe, 29; Adesoji Oluwafemi, 36 and Idoko Michael, 33, who were also arrested.

Their modus operandi involved picking passengers from designated points. While one of them would drive the car, others would stand at designated bus-stops where they would board the car with unsuspecting passengers, only to point a gun at him or her, with an order to surrender everything in his possession, on reaching a convenient place. Thereafter, they would push their victims out of the vehicle.

During interrogation, Valentino disclosed that his gang operated along the Lekki-Ajah route, adding that he was introduced into the robbery by Idoko.

According to him: “ I met Idoko at a bar. On that day, my car broke down and I had no cash to fix it. He approached me and asked why I was still waiting after everyone had left. He promised to help me make more money after the car had been fixed.

“ We met again at a different bar and he told me how to use the car for one chance operation. Immediately, I called the owner of the car to inform him of the problem. I told him I would refund the amount used to replace the car engine if he bought me another one.

“ When the car was fixed, I met Idoko and we started using it ( car) for operation along Ajah- Lekki road alone. Later, Adesoji and Onwoluwe joined us”

But he disclosed that his gang never used a gun during the operation.

Continuing, he said: ” Whenever we picked passengers from Ajah to Lekki or any part of the State, on reaching an isolated place, we would threaten the passengers with a tyre jack which looks like a gun and collect whatever they have before pushing them out of the car and zoomed off.”

My role On his part, Idoko, said “Velentino and I usually sat behind, posing as passengers, Oluwafemi would drive while Onwoluwe would sit in front, holding the tyre jack. On reaching a convenient place, the driver would order Onwoluwe to cock the gun. He (Onwoluwe) would use a hammer to hit the jack, making it sound like a gun.

“ We would order the victim to bring out his or her Automated Teller Machine, ATM card, and also provide us with the pin. After pushing the victim out, we would drive to an ATM Machine, where we would withdraw every dim in the account.

“I was a barber. I joined the gang after my barbing saloon was demolished at Ikate. At the end of the operation, the owner of the car usually took the largest share of the loot. We operated only at night”, he said.

For Onwoluwe, said he joined the gang six months ago, adding that “ The money I made was just for feeding and clothing”.

The suspects as gathered would soon be charged to court. Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu, warned criminals to desist from their nefarious activities or have the same fate befall them.