The suspects, Sodiq Musa, 28, and Saidu Atiku, 34, were arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad at No. 27 Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, with three Toyota vehicle ECUs, while the third suspect, Ridwan Adamu, escaped with the fourth ECU.
In his confessional statement to the RRS operatives, Musa told the officers that Atiku, a security guard working for a company located on that street where they were arrested, had earlier in the day called Adamu, the leader of the team, to come and steal from the vehicles belonging to the company, which were parked outside the premises.
Adamu and Musa got to the venue around 1am and broke into two Toyota Hiace buses and two Toyota Hilux vans belonging to the company and stole their ECUs, but another security guard raised the alarm, which led to Musa being caught with three ECUs, while Adamu fled with the other one.
Musa was thereafter taken to the RRS headquarters, where he confessed the involvement of Atiku, who allegedly invited them for the operation and slept besides the vehicles, while pretending that nothing was happening when they were vandalising the vehicles.
Musa claimed to be a graduate of Political Science from one of the universities in the country and that he came to Lagos in 2017 in search of greener pastures.
He said, “I worked in various hotels and event centres in Lagos before I met Atiku, who introduced me to brainbox theft and taught me all the antics of doing so successfully. We use vehicle spark plug, which we call the ‘magic stone’, to break vehicle windows without attracting attention.
“The spark plug reduces the noise and ensures quick breaking of any vehicle window. We tie the plug to a handkerchief in a situation where we have multiple vehicles to work on; it takes two minutes to remove a Toyota Hiace ECU and it takes four minutes to remove a Toyota Hilux ECU.
“We specialise in stealing Toyota ECUs because they command good money in the market. The demand for them is higher than for any other brand. Atiku connects with the buyers at a popular spare parts market in Lagos. We always meet the buyers outside the market, where we exchange our loot for cash.
“Atiku gives me 40 per cent of whatever we make from the sale of the ECUs. He never disclosed where we would carry out our next operation, because he felt that he is my boss. Our target areas are usually nightclubs, where people come to with different types of vehicles. We strike between 1am and 2am when most of the clubbers would have started enjoying themselves.”
The suspects also confessed to have stolen two ECUs at a popular nightclub in Lekki, and others at Ogunlana Drive and Allen Avenue, Ikeja.
The state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, in his reaction to the arrest, directed the transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti.
He also advised night clubbers in the state to be extra careful while enjoying themselves and leaving their vehicles parked at unsafe locations
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