The Lagos State Police Command has arrested an 18-year-old suspected thief, Ganiyu Rahman, in the Oshodi area of the state who said his gang had over 50 members.
Rahman, who was arrested along with five other teenage thieves on Friday, added that he had been living under the bridge in Oshodi since 2013.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the other suspects were Sadiq Adebayo, 15; Timilehin Oluwaseun, 14; Ogundare Moyinoluwa, 18; Toheeb Tijani, 19; and Adeleke Sodiq, 17.
They were arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad during an alleged theft.
According to the police, the teenagers are serial phone thieves in the Oshodi area.
A police source said, “The suspects were brought in batches to the RRS headquarters in Alausa. They were brazenly dispossessing commuters of their belongings when they were nabbed.”
In his statement to the police, Rahman said his gang usually lurked around the Oshodi Oke area.
He said, “We have over 50 members in my gang. We are always in the Oshodi Oke area all day. Some of us scout for victims to snatch their handbags, phones and other valuables. Most times, we pretend as if we are helping them out with the valuables but we steal from them. We usually work in groups. While the others are helping out, some of us snatch the valuables and run.
“My parents are divorced. I have been sleeping under the bridge in Oshodi since 2013. Sometimes, I worked as a bus conductor and whenever I was not working, I followed my gang members to steal.
“On Friday, we stole Microsoft phone from a lady’s bag. We pretended to be helping the lady to get a bus. But we stole her phone.”
Another suspect, Adebayo, said he and two others stole an iPhone and a Phantom Tecno phone from a car, adding that he made N7,000 from the stolen phones.
He said, “My two friends, – Osas and Janbele – and I stole the phones from a car. We sold the two phones, along with seven other phones to one man, Tuwo, in the Idi Oro, Mushin area. They gave me N7,000 from the proceeds.”
The victim of the Friday theft, an undergraduate, identified only as Sarah, said she was not aware that her phone was stolen until she boarded the bus.
“I discovered my phone was missing immediately I boarded a bus in Oshodi. But, I received a call in the evening that I should come to Alausa to collect my phone,” she added.
The police said efforts were on to apprehend other suspected teenage thieves in the area.
The source told PUNCH Metro that the suspects had been transferred to the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, Alausa.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the police would not tolerate any form of criminality.
“Parents are to monitor the activities of their wards and children,” she added.