Police in Lagos have discovered a mechanic workshop, located at Ipakodo Ikorodu, where stolen cars are refurbished before being sold off.
Police said that after refurbishing the cars, they would be moved to other parts of the country where to be sold.The owner o f the workshop, Opeyemi Ogundokun, 24, has been arrested and is currently detained at the command’s headquarters.
The other suspects arrested in connection with the case are Abdulwaheed Abdulkareem (28), Nurudeen Abdulrahman (38), Shehu Shittu (42) and Muslim Abdulwahab (40). They were all arrested at Rigassa village, Kaduna State.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Edgal Imohimi, said the suspects were arrested sequel to a complaint, which the command received from Mr Saheed Aminu on November 19.
Imohimi noted that the complainant alleged that his green coloured Toyota Camry car, marked ER 468 KRD, was stolen in front of his rented apartment at Ikorodu, where it was parked.
He said: “It was based on the complaint that detectives from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ipakodo, were mobilised to go after the car thieves. Intelligence reports revealed that the vehicle was parked at the workshop of Opeyemi Ogundokun, an auto mechanic. When Opeyemi was arrested and interrogated, he made some startling revelations. These revelations led detectives to a town called Rigassa in Kaduna State. At Rigassa, two suspects were arrested.”
Imohimi explained that the syndicate’s job was to steal cars from where they were parked or snatched at gunpoint from their owners. After that, the cars would be refurbished at Opeyemi’s workshop before being moved to northern parts of the country, where they would be sold.
He added: “Investigation led to the arrest of Shehu Shittu (42), Nurideen Abdulrahman (38) and Musiliu Abdulwahab (40), who were identified as receivers of all cars stolen by the gang from Lagos. As fate would have it, the Toyota Camry car, marked ER 468 KRD, earlier stolen at Ikorodu, was seen and identified by the complainant. The car has been handed over to the complainant.”
Items recovered from the suspects are 118 rounds of AK47 ammunition, one English pistol, military camouflage, one hand grenade, one Nissan Versa car marked KRD 538 AZ, one Toyota Rav4 car marked EKY 720 BS, Toyota Camry car, marked EC 192 KRD, Honda CRV SUV, with registration number EKY 17 AR.
The police also recovered various number plates such as MUS 312 BK, AL 511 KJA, LND 67 BB, CT 754 FST, EQ 963 EKY, AG 87 YEE, MNY 310 XA and KRD 770 BT.
Imohimi said that the suspects had confessed that they were based in Kaduna State, but only come into Lagos State to snatch cars.
Abudlwaheed said: “I’m a car dealer in Kaduna State. It was Shittu, who brought the two cars to my shop to sell for him. When he brought the vehicles, I asked him where he got them, he lied to me. He said that he bought them in Lagos. It was because he showed me original documents of the cars that I didn’t suspect him.
It was when we were arrested by the police that I got to know I had been dealing with an armed robber. I got to know him through an electrician. That was why I allowed him to display his car in my shop.”
Abdulrahman said: “It was Lookman, who is at large, that sold his Camry car to me for N500,000. I was arrested after police tracked my phone. It was another Camry car, which I bought from the same Lookman that got me into problem. I was later arrested at my house in Kaduna State.”
Another suspect, Abdulwahab, confessed to have introduced Lookman to his brother, Nurudeen. Nurudeen would later buy a Camry car from Lookman.
Abdulwahab noted: “I was the one who linked the buyer to the seller. I was in my house one day when policemen came to arrest me. They said that I was part of a syndicate that used to buy and sell stolen vehicles.”
Shittu, who was displaying his vehicles at Abdulwaheed’s shop, also claimed to have bought them from Lookman.
Shittu said: “I’m not the owner of the recovered number plates. Lookman told me the number plates were given to him by his uncle, whom he claimed bought the cars from Cotonou. It was after I was arrested that I knew that the vehicles were stolen ones. And as for the pistol and camouflage, they were for a soldier that was living with me.”