On Tuesday, a one-chance syndicate of four met their waterloo after their last operation hit the brick wall in the Wuye area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The operation, like every other day, may have been projected as successful until they pushed their last victim, a female, out of a fast-moving car and sped off at about 11 am on the said day.
The incident had attracted passersby as well as residents who rushed to her aid, while some chased after the criminals till they were caught.
A statement issued by the FCT Police Command, and signed by its Spokesperson, DSP Josephine Adeh on Thursday, gave more insight into the incident as well as their mode of operation:
“The surveillance team of the Wuye division, who were on routine patrol, with the help of residents rushed to her aid and gave the fleeing criminals a hot chase. The hot chase soon attracted the attention of mobs who spread the news of the arrest gathering in their numbers to unleash mayhem on the Suspects.
“The Police, however, tactically effected the arrest of the suspects but the pressure from the irate crowd resulted in the burning of the operational vehicle of the suspects before the Police could move it down to the station.
“In light of the above, preliminary investigation has commenced. The suspects have revealed to the Police their modus operandi and how they have been in the criminal venture for over five years.
“Furthermore, to ensure that members of the public are aware of the existence and activities of these criminal elements, it is important to expose their age-long modus operandi as follows: An unsuspecting passenger is first picked along the road.
“The passenger is then physically evaluated to see if valuables could be collected, otherwise, they harsh a plan B to play on the greed and innocence of the victim by saying a huge amount of money is in the boot and needs spiritual intervention for cleansing.
“The suspect is promised part of the money only if he or she can provide enough money to secure the services of a spiritualist. To believe this is falling victim to the miscreants”.
Operatives of the Division were said to have equally rescued a victim from the four-man syndicate and a cash sum of N200,000 on the spot.
The police said the suspected criminals including Monday James (male), Ubeh Peter (male), Precious Ofili (female), and Rita Nkemjika (female) have been on its watchlist for a while.
The suspects, the police noted, have been linked to masterminding and perpetrating a series of vehicular robberies (one chance) and its related fraudulently crime, particularly in the Wuye axis and environs.
The statement quoted the FCT Police Commissioner Babaji Sunday as saying that road users should board vehicles only at places that are not isolated and approved motor parks.
Sunday noted that the anti-one-chance unit of the Command and other similar sections across the Command has been beefed up to ensure that the menace and sundry crimes and criminality are nipped in the bud.
He also stressed the need for members of the public to shun the practice of self-help in obtaining justice known as jungle justice. He assured that the suspects will be made to face the full wrath of the law after the investigations.
“Members of the public are enjoined to be vigilant and make a prompt rendition of complaints through the following emergency lines: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883, while the Public Complaint Bureau (PCB) desk, could be reached on: 0902 222 2352,” the statement said.