A 30-year-old armed robbery suspect, Sylvester Agara, yesterday told our correspondent that his gang used to create panic at public functions in Lagos metropolis to steal cars.
Agara, who was arrested alongside two other members of gang – Yusuf Oyebanji (25) and Ifeanyi Eze (35) – were arrested on April 19 by the officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos State Command.
The fourth member of the gang, identified simply as Zakari, is still at large. Agara said his members would dress guests and attend any function where they want to rob.
According to him, the gang members would suddenly raise the alarm that something is burning outside the venue of the function thereby causing anxiety
He said that in the midst of the commotion, they would steal their targeted car.
Agara added that they had different ways of causing panic at functions.
According to him, sometimes they lie that a vehicle is burning outside the venue of the party or one of them would scream as if something is wrong with him.
He said: “While some of us are attending to him others would be removing cars.
We always operate between 6.30 p.m. and 7 p.m. when the day is dark.
Immediately after we create panic, people would be running into safety. It is in the process we will pick different cars and move them away with our master keys.”
Agara told our correspondent that on the day he was arrested, of Zakari called him on the phone that a friend had a car they wanted to go and pick at Igbo-Elerin.
He said: “We were five planning the operation, but Zakari said he did not want many people.
He said only a few us should go with him and that I would be the one who would drive the vehicle.
When we got to the party, we created panic and people were running helter- skelter.
“Immediately people started running, we drove away our targeted car from the party. On our away to Alakija, the vehicle stopped, not knowing that it had been tracked.
Two mechanics, who were going to work, saw us and approached us to assist us to fix the car.
“When we were fixing the vehicle, a friend of the owner of the vehicle, who was returning from the party, saw the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and alerted the policemen patrolling the area.
That was how I was arrested.” On his part, Eze said he joined the gang to raise money to establish himself.
He said: “I met a pastor who promised to assist me to travel to India for greener pastures. Unfortunately the pastor defrauded me. I gave him all my savings.
It was when I did not have anything to do again that I met Zakari, who introduced me to robbery. “I was arrested in my house while I was sleeping.
“My belief was that I would make money from robbery to restart my business. That was why I decided to join Zakari and the others in the operation.
But I regret my action.” But the third suspect, Oyebanji, said he did not go with others for the operation which landed them in police custody.