The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 27-year-old man for robbing a customer at Shoprite in Adeniran Ogunsanya.
The suspect, Ahmed Balogun, also allegedly stole the customer’s BlackBerry phone, driving licence, ATM cards, credit cards and money.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspect went to an ATM after the robbery and withdrew all the money in the victim’s account.
The victim, Ogechi Onyemem, said the suspect stole her phone while she was attempting to pay the cashier at the counter.
She said, “That day, I went shopping with my children and had wanted to pay at the counter. I was distracted by my children for a few seconds, leaving my purse and my phone on the counter. When I turned back, I didn’t see my belongings again.
“I raised the alarm and accused the cashier of stealing my belongings. I was stranded with no money to pay for the items I wanted to buy and I did not have a phone with which I could call any friend for help. The manager intervened, but I demanded that he showed me the CCTV footage so we could trace the thief.
“When we played back the tape, we saw the suspect, in white shirt, take my properties, put them in his pocket and then walk away calmly.”
The mother of three said the management of Shoprite apologised to her and then she left as all efforts to trace the suspect on that day proved abortive.
Onyemem said because the incident happened during the Sallah break, she could not get her mind off the loss of her items as banks were not opened.
She said, “My husband had travelled and I had no money or phone to even call friends. The following day, I went to retrieve my line from MTN and immediately I activated it, I received SMS alert on my phone that N101, 000 had been withdrawn from my Guaranty Trust Bank account.
“I immediately called my other banks, Diamond and Zenith, to block my accounts and then reported the incident to Bode Thomas Police.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that the policemen watched CCTV footage and noticed that the suspect had a handshake with one of the employees of Shoprite.
The policemen immediately interrogated the Shoprite employee who identified the suspect as an acquaintance known as Balogun.
He said they both lived in the same neighbourhood on the Lagos Island. The policemen went to Adeniji Adele Police Division, under whose jurisdiction the suspect lived, and documented the incident.
The Shoprite employee was said to have led the policemen to where the suspect was but hoodlums initially prevented them from arresting the suspect.
Onyemem said, “When policemen attempted to arrest the suspect, thugs that outnumbered the policemen who were in plain clothes prevented them. But the Divisional Police Officer, Adeniji Adele, Mr. Monday Agbonika, sent reinforcement and arrested the suspect.
“He initially denied stealing my things but when the CCTV tape was shown to him at Bode Thomas, he confessed, saying that he was able to withdraw money with my ATM card by obtaining my date of birth, which was written on my driving licence and co-incidentally my date of birth happened to be the Personal Identification Number of my GTBank ATM card.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that all the items were recovered from the suspect and his friend, Ganiyu Rabiu, who was keeping it for him. Other items suspected to have been stolen in the same manner were also recovered from them.
Confirming the incident, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said the suspects have been charged to court.
She said, “The suspects are being charged with conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property. They are in court.