Pickpocketing comes naturally to me — Suspect tells police

Lagos central business district

The Lagos State Police Command on Tuesday arrested an 18-year-old pickpocket at Oshodi, Lagos.

Seun Jimoh was caught while removing N18,000 from a commuter’s pocket during a bus stampede.

“The suspect, who was decked in brown jacket and trousers, and a hand bag like a business executive, before his arrest, had already stolen four mobile phones from unsuspecting commuters in an early morning rush in the area,” the police said in a statement on Wednesday.

The police said unknown to Mr. Jimoh, two of his victims had been on the lookout for him after they suspected he was in custody of their missing phones.

“While standing at Oshodi under Bridge, they spotted him removing money from the pocket of a passenger, Gbenga Odeniyi,” the police said.

“At that point, his earlier victims, Onuh Austine and Onesimus Paul, raised an alarm, which made Jimoh to promptly drop the money and take to his heels but RRS (Rapid Response Squad) operatives close to the scene chased and caught him.”

The police said after listening to the victims’ accusations, they requested their phone numbers, dialled them, and found their phones ringing inside Mr. Jimoh’s handbag.

The police said the suspect confessed to stealing the two phones during a bus stampede.

“On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I am always in Oshodi pickpocketing,” the police quoted Mr. Jimoh as saying.

“I (steal) an average of eight phones on Mondays and maybe like nine phones on Fridays. I don’t really get more than five phones on Wednesdays.”

Mr. Jimoh, an indigene of Ondo State, also told the police he was an orphan brought to Lagos by his uncle.

“He enlisted me in an automobile workshop but I ran away from there to Mushin where I honed my skills in pickpocketing,” he said.

“All the phones that I stole, I sell them in Alaba Rago to some Hausas. They buy fairly used phones and materials from people. I have been in this business since 2013. I have never been caught or imprisoned before.”

“Nobody needs to train you on how to pickpocket. It is so easy and the idea came naturally to me. You can do it but you do the easy ones.

“I get to Oshodi by 6:30 a.m. and I leave after operations around 9:00 a.m. I sell Nokia Microsoft N7, 000; Infinix Hot N8,000; Tecno Y series, N7,000 – N9,000; and small Samsung phones N4, 000.”

The RRS operatives said they later invited the owners of the two other phones found with Mr. Jimoh to collect them, adding that they are on the verge of arresting stolen phone buyers mentioned by the suspect.

Confirming the arrest, Dolapo Badmus, the State Police Public Relations Officer, reassured people of Lagos of maximum security in place in the state.

“The suspect has given information that would help track down his colleagues in the same trade as well as stolen phone buyers,” said Ms. Badmus, a Superintendent of Police.

The suspect has been transferred to the Lagos State Taskforce on Environment for prosecution, according to the police.

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