Two entertainers, a musician and a pianist, both robbery suspects arrested by the Rapid Response Squad unit of the Lagos Police Command, have confessed that they were forced into robbery by the need to survive the COVID-19 lockdown hunger.
The suspects, Chinonso Michael, 25, an Afro hip-hop singer, and Chimelu Victory, 22, a pianist, were arrested last Wednesday in company of five other suspects at their residence at 4, Modupe Young Thomas Estate, Ajah, Lagos by the Decoy Team of RRS.
The duo had on April 10, 2020, ordered pay on delivery, an iPhone 11 Pro Max valued at N450,000 in an online platform, Jiji.com, from their service charge apartment in Ajah.
On receipt of the consignment from a delivery man, one Anifowoshe Itunu, Chimelu, the buyer, generated a fake alert to the rider first and later, with the connivance of Chinonso escaped from the apartment after they had tied down the despatch rider with a bottle of beer.
The suspects then sold the iPhone 11 Pro Max to a buyer in Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos, for a sum of N350,000 transferred into Chinoso’s bank account.
The suspects, who jumped off from the first floor to the ground naked at their apartment into the streets on sighting the police, confessed that the crime was the third time they sold iPhone 11 Pro Max during the COVID-19 lockdown, adding that two of the phones were carted online with stolen credit cards.
According to sources, Chinonso fractured his arm and bruised him chin immediately he landed on the ground floor. He then instantly took to the streets naked before he was arrested and taken to the hospital.
In their confessions, Chinonso and Chimelo, who are regular performers in some Lagos night clubs, separately attributed their actions to COVID-19 lockdown stressing that “during the lock down there was nothing going and we didn’t have anything to eat for like two – weeks.
“We were already owing all the store owners in the neighbourhood. Nobody was ready to give us credit anymore. We had to device a means to survive the lock down,” they stated.
Chinonso, who just changed his stage name from Authority to Happy-Boy, noted that he joined Chimelu at his Ajah residence in March 2020. He noted that Chimelu was his music teacher in Aba, Abia State, before he moved to Lagos.
Chimelu, who is popularly called Apostle Swag recently resigned as a Lekki church keyboardist to pursuit a career in music, stated that he used to have regular shows in Lagos clubs before the lockdown.
He added that ‘the plan of a service charge apartment was to create the impression that they live there in the mind of the despatch rider.”
The suspects confessed that apart from their musical careers, they also engage in internet fraud.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects include: one iPhone 11Pro Max, three laptops, two flash drives, two WiFi connection modems, two memory cards, four SIM cards, one Samsung phone and one iPhone.
The suspects have been transferred to SARS for further investigations and prosecution.
Commenting on the development, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, maintained that the internet is a fertile ground for opportunities but the State Command would not allow criminals use it as an avenue to exploit legitimate business owners.
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