In The Blood: 'I am addicted to armed robbery, I can't stop' - Father of two

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Joshua Tabiti and other gang members at their parade

A serial car thief arrested in Lagos has confessed that he is addicted to stealing and cannot stop even if he wanted to.

A 31-year-old father of two who has taken armed robbery as his source of living has opened to operatives of the Zonal Intervention Squad [ZIS], Zone II, Onikan, Lagos, that he is addicted to robbery and cannot stop even if he wanted to.

The suspect, Joshua Tabiti who said he is also a driver by the side, confessed that he is a serial car thief and his kleptomaniac lifestyle started when he was a kid and since then, all efforts to curb the addiction has remained abortive.

Tabiti who was paraded alongside his gang members, Oluseye Arokoyo, 34, Ahmed Alli, 24 and the receiver of the stolen vehicles, Moses Ofoke, 31, was arrested by the ZIS under the Assistant Inspector-General of Police [AIG] of the Zone.

It was learned that the suspects were arrested after police operatives tracked their phone numbers and pretended to be buyers who needed stolen cars.

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A police source said that the suspects stole three vehicles on the day they were caught, adding that 26 other exotic vehicles were recovered from them while 11 cars were traced to Ondo State, with three each was recovered in Delta State, Abuja, and Nassarawa State respectively.

Though the police put the number of vehicles stolen by the gang at 26, most of them Toyota Camry cars from Oworoshoki, Bariga and Somolu areas of Lagos, Tabiti admitted having taken part in the theft of about 11 cars since March 2017.

While confessing to his crimes, Tabiti said he had done everything possible to quit stealing without success, adding that his parents also tried their best to stop the vice to no avail.

“I am a driver with two children. I started doing this job after I was sacked where I worked in Victoria Island. My friend introduced me to car theft in March. I have stolen 11 vehicles from Oworonshoki, Bariga, and Somolu.

What we do is to go out around 2 am. A man cuts a master key for us to steal Toyota cars. We open the car and kick-start the ignition. We don’t rob at gunpoint. We got the key for N1000 or N2000.

After stealing it, we send the cars to Ondo to two buyers. The first car we took was a Nissan Salon car. We sold it for N100,000. The other one was a Toyota Camry which we sold for N200,000.

Others we sold for N300,000. We were four but three were arrested. The other man has fled. We usually share the money. I used my own money to rent a house and bought household items.

My wife does not know I steal cars. I have two kids. My wife just knew I was sacked and I was looking for a job. I was sacked after I stole my boss’ N200,000.”

Another suspect, Ali, a trained barber, said he knew Tabiti at his barbing saloon, adding that the latter lured him into the crime with a promise to give him money for his mother’s memorial.

“He came one day and said my shop was boring. I was thinking of how to raise money for my mum’s remembrance when Joshua said he would assist me.

The first time he went alone. Other times, I followed him. I followed him to Ondo State twice to deliver some of the stolen cars to the receiver.

He told me about the master key and how they steal the car. We go out around 2 am. We always monitor streets to avoid security presence before going to rob.”

Ofoke, a former guard in the Oworonshoki area, said his job as to provide information to the gang on streets where vehicles were parked but with no security presence.

“This is my first time of following them. I worked as a security guard before. When the street was no longer paying me, I stopped.

The barber told me I was always wearing one cloth and he said he could help me out of my situation. He told me I should take them to streets without security. The very first day I followed them was the day we were caught."

The receiver of the stolen vehicles, Arokoyo, a resident of Igbokoda in Ondo State, said he received seven vehicles from the suspects before he was arrested.

“I am a driver. I sold some of the cars and used others to work. I did not know they were stolen until we were arrested. They told me the vehicles were from customs.

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One of them said he was a soldier.  I bought some of the cars for  N100,000 and I sold for N250,000. The ones I bought N300,000, I sold for N400,000.

It was Joshua who called me that he wanted to sell a vehicle. The numbers he gave me were those of a policeman. And that was how we were arrested.”

While parading the suspects at Obada-Oko in Ogun State, AIG Ibrahim Adamu commended the ZIS operatives for the feat, charging them to sustain the tempo in order to flush criminals off the zone.



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