The police in Enugu State, south-east Nigeria, said they have arraigned four people, including a mother of four, who allegedly swapped an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card and withdrew N495,000 from a victim’s bank account in the state.
The police spokesperson in the state, Daniel Ndukwe, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday night.
Mr Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police, said the suspects were arrested on 6 May at about 4.30 p.m. while they attempted to escape from their hideout in Emene, a community in Enugu East Local Government Area of the state.
The police spokesperson said the suspects were arrested by police operatives serving in Hawk Tactical Squad in collaboration with troops of the Nigerian Air Force, Enugu.
He gave the names of the suspects as Sopuruchi Michael, 36, Osinachi Godwin, 18, Moses Ani, 29, and Chika Nwoko, 29, the mother of four and the only female among them.
How they swapped ATM card, stole from victim
Mr Ndukwe said the suspects “fraudulently” changed the ATM card of an undisclosed 63-year-old male victim after obtaining his personal identification number (PIN) while pretending to assist him to withdraw money from a commercial Bank ATM along Ogui Road in the state.
“Immediately after the switcheroo, the suspects used the card and PIN to withdraw the total sum of N495,000 from the victim’s account,” he said.
Arraignment and remand
The police spokesperson said the suspects have confessed to the crime and that they have swapped other ATM cards in the past within Enugu Metropolis.
Four ATM cards of different commercial banks, including that of the victim, were recovered from the suspects, the police said.
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“Consequently, the suspects were today, 23 May, arraigned in court, where the magistrate ordered that they should be remanded in Enugu Custodial Centre, while the case was adjourned to 7th June for further hearing,” Mr Ndukwe stated.
The police spokesperson said the case-file was later transmitted to the attorney-general of the state for legal advice through the Director of Public Prosecution in the state’s ministry of justice.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Ammani, has commended the joint security operatives for busting the criminal syndicate and arraigning them, Mr Ndukwe said.
Mr Ammani urged bank customers, particularly the elderly and those without proper knowledge of how to use ATM cards to exercise caution and seek the assistance of banks’ staff while using their cards on ATM.
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