A gang of robbers have told the Lagos police that they steal just to maintain their statuses as big boys.
Four robbery suspects, Nnakwe Ugo, a 26-year-old auto parts apprentice at the Ladipo Parts Market in Oshodi, Lagos, Ozioma Ike, 20, Kenechukwu Anierobi, 23 and Obi Gaza, have told the police that the lure of ostentatious lifestyle in order to be seen as 'big boys' by wearing expensive clothes, shoes, jewelries and money to throw around so as to impress women, led them into stealing.
But that love for the extra-ordinary has spelled doom for them as they have been nabbed by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), of the Lagos Police Command.
The first to be arrested was Anierobi who was nabbed in the Mushin area of the state by a patrol team a bag containing over 50 stolen handsets at about 1 am on May 18.
During interrogation at the Mushin Police Station, Anierobi confessed that he belonged to a four-man gang who specialized in breaking into boutiques, phone shops and homes to steal.
Anierobi who was later transferred to the SARS Headquarters in Ikeja, led the team to arrest Ike, Nnakwe and Gaza.
Ugo, the gang leader told reporters during their parade at the SARS office:
"I sent Kenechukwu to follow Obi and the other one to break a shop at Mushin and one boutique on Nkenu Street in Ajao Estate. They went with one rod and two iron cutters. I sent them two times.
I shared their loot with my roommate. I chose my size of jeans and shoes and started wearing them. I received four phones while my roommate got about five. We break shops to get expensive shoes, clothes which ordinarily we could not afford. But it was just to show off as big boy traders in Ladipo market and its environs.
In our second operation, I got 12 jeans trousers, two wrist watches and 13 assorted shirts which I kept for personal use because I did not loot to sell. We succeeded in the third operation but one of us, Kenechukwu, was arrested by police.
When police arrested him, we ran away but he later brought SARS operatives to arrest us despite the oath we took not to betray any member in a situation like that.
For three years, as an apprentice, my master, who is even my brother, refused to settle me. He even found it difficult to give me pocket money to be like my peers; that was why I joined the gang to get fine clothes to wear like my mates."
On his part, Ike said he had joined the gang to rob two boutiques, with his role being to alert others in case of danger.
"We shared our loot in our sponsor’s house. In the first operation, I got 15 jeans trousers and 10 tops (shirts), while in the second, I got 21 jeans trousers and 13 tops. I used my bag to pack some of the loot.
We hanged somewhere till 4 am before we started working towards a bus stop. We steal to show off as big boy traders in Mushin."
"I hustle in Ladipo market. I usually charged N1, 000 for carrying an engine. I joined them to break shop in Mushin where we got 35 phones. We used cutter, chisel and wheel spanner to break shops."