A 41-year-old man arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command for stealing the phone of his helper has pleaded that he should be saved from going to prison the eighth time.
Emmanuel Oyewunmi, from Ikale, Ondo State, was arrested by the operatives on Friday night at Ojodu Berger Bus Stop for stealing N600 and a phone from a bus driver and a passenger.
Mr. Oyewunmi had been on the wanted list of RRS’s operatives for stealing a Samsung Galaxy S4 belonging to one Adesewa Oni from her car, the police said in a statement Sunday.
“On the penultimate day, Oyewunmi was a park keeper outside Shoprite Shopping Mall, Ikeja when Oni drove in to attend a ceremony at the Adeyemi Bero, Auditorium, Alausa,” the statement said.
“For keeping an eye on her car, Oni instead of offering Oyewunmi the N200 he requested decided to drive him to a nearby ATM to withdraw some money out of which she gave him N1,000.
“Unwittingly for her, she left Oyewunmi inside her car while she gets the money from the ATM. Upon returning, she handed Oyewunmi the N1,000 and she drove off.”
Mrs. Oni said she had driven for five minutes, after leaving Mr. Oyewunmi when she realised her phone was gone.
“Quickly, my mind raced to him and I realised my folly,” she said.
“How could I have left a total stranger in my car alone, leaving documents and valuable items in the car with him? It was just a silly thing to do for me. I traced him back to that spot but he was gone.”
Mrs. Oni said she was advised to report the incident at the RRS’s Headquarters the same day.
The police said the suspect on interrogation admitted stealing Mrs. Oni’s phone when she left him in the car to get money through the ATM last week Sunday.
“I was pushed into it by the need to get hard drugs,” Mr. Oyewunmi said.
“As soon as I got the phone, I went to Ipodo in Ikeja to get hard drug. It was the hard drug dealer that bought it from me. He bought it for N8,000.
“I spent the rest on drug. I was so pained that I forgot to shave and barb from the proceeds of the stolen phones.
“Hard drug has spoilt my life. It was the cause of my rejection by my wife, and my father. I got hooked on drug while I was young and getting out of it has been extremely difficult for me.”
Mr. Oyewunmi said some faith based non-governmental originations had assisted in his rehabilitation in the past, but he had always found his way back to drugs.
“Drug has been the predominant cause of my imprisonment,” he said.
“If I am imprisoned now, it would be the eighth time and third time this year.”
On his second offence, Mr. Oyewunmi admitted stealing a phone and N600 from the bus driver and a passenger but pleaded that he was under the influence of drug.
Confirming the arrest of the suspected thief, the Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, urged Lagosians not to expose themselves to criminals.
The police said the suspect had been transferred to the Lagos State Taskforce for prosecution.