Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Police in Ebonyi State on Wednesday said it arrested two suspects for allegedly stealing vehicles in the state.
It gave the names of the suspects as Francis Oti from Afikpo Local Government of Ebonyi and Philip Pele from Isokoro, Delta State.
The duo, according to the police, allegedly stole two vehicles, a Toyota Corolla with plate numbers Ebonyi AKL 172 RN and a Matrix car Abuja GWA 753 DC.
Police Spokesperson, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said the duo attempted to steal another car on Sunday but did not succeed.
Instead they forgot one of their phones inside the car which aided their arrest by the police
She said the car stealing syndicate was arrested when one of them placed a call on the phone which he unknowingly left in the vehicle.
She said: “Lately, there have been incidents of car theft from where cars are parked, and so the command has been on their toes.
“As God will have it, a syndicate trying to move a particular vehicle from where it was parked failed and one of them left his phone in the vehicle which was what led to their arrest.
“The Hilux was recovered from one of the ESN camps, it was abandoned in Agba community in Ishielu local government. So far, we have recovered 3 vehicles.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Augustina Ogbodo is warning the criminal elements to either desist from their criminalities or leave the state because she is going to make the state uncomfortable for them”.
The suspects in an interview, blamed general hardship in the country on their criminal activities.
Francis Oti said, “We were caught stealing people’s cars. We stole this corolla and matrix. Hunger drove me into stealing people’s vehicles. As an engineer, the country is not favouring me. I have not been into this business, it was just last week that my friend who has the idea of this came to visit me from Abuja and talked me into this.
“I am a tailor but for close to two months now, I have not seen work to do and if I continue like that, hungry will kill someone. It is only these two vehicles that we have stolen.”
Also, Philip Pele said, ” When I came to Abuja from Ghana I called this my friend because I knew him before going to Ghana, when I called him, he told me that he was no longer staying in Abuja but in Abakaliki and I asked him what he was doing now he said he searches parked vehicles and picks what is inside and sell.
“I said why don’t you think of how to move a vehicle and look for who to buy it, he said can you do it? I told him that all Toyota keys can start any vehicle, so we looked for keys and bought some and tried them. After getting the cars we look for buyers.
“So on Sunday when we came to Abakaliki, we decided to try a car that was parked outside a compound. As we tried to start the vehicle it did not move, we believe that we did not have a key that matched the vehicle.
“He unknowingly left his phone in the vehicle. When he called the phone somebody said he picked it up on the floor and that he should come and take the phone. He sent somebody to go and collect the phone and the person was apprehended and that led to our arrest.
“I was in Ghana doing fraud but the business at the moment is not favorable because of so many internet policies now that was the reason we came down here to see if we can see other things doing.
“But this first attempt didn’t work. It’s not that there are no legitimate things to do but the way the country is has led us into this. I was into fashion and designing before I left for Ghana,” he said.