By NGOZI UWUJARE
THE road ended for 52-year-old car-snatching kingpin, Adedeji Idowu, when a crack team of operatives from Ibadan unit of the Special Armed Robbery Squad of Oyo State Police Command, led by Supol Ebenezer Oyewole, arrested him in Port Harcourt, on February 10, 2016, after a diligent manhunt. Six members of the gang were also arrested in the Rivers State capital.
Similarly, the South West arm of his syndicate was further dealt a deadly punch, when the Oyo State SARS rounded up over 20 of its members and recovered 40 cars from the gang, which specialized in stealing cars parked in public places, mainly at social events and shopping centres in the urban areas. The cars were recovered in Benin Republic, Rivers, Lagos and Oyo states.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Leye Oyebade told Sunday Sun that the notorious gang had for long terrorized motorists in Oyo, Ogbomoso and Ibadan. He said that the car-snatching syndicate operated with ready receivers, who sold off the vehicles, each worth about N2 million for as low as N170,000 in Rivers, Lagos and Ogun states and Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Oyebade explained that the feat achieved by the command was facilitated by the harmonious collaboration between the commander of SARS in Dugbe, Ibadan, Supol Ebenezer Oyewole and his counterpart in Oyo/Ogbomoso, Supol Sola Aremu, who joined forces to raid the suspects after carefully monitoring their movements for sometime.
He gave the names of the alleged gang members arrested in Port Harcourt as Oludele Patunola, 44, Ojo Adegboyega, 52, Muftau Mustapha, 50, Bright Nmecha, 30, and 41-year-old Henry Dike, and noted that 14 of the cars stolen by the gang were recovered from Rivers State.
The brands and registration details of the recovered cars were given as: Toyota (Lagos AGL 565 DL); Toyota Camry (Lagos FKJ 981 DY); Honda CRV (Lagos KSF 923 CL) Toyota Camry (Bayelsa YEN 518 BJ); Hyundai Elantra (Rivers PHC 578 UN), Lexus SUV (BGM 482 LK); Toyota Camry (Rivers PHC 245 UN), one unregistered Toyota Camry car, Nissan Altima (Lagos KJA 654 AV), Toyota Camry RSH 888 MS.
Furthermore, Oyebade said, the Ibadan SARS team led by Supol Oyewole recovered another Toyota RAV 4 on February 24, 2016, from the fortified residence of Oludele Fatunola at Omi-Adio area of Ibadan, Oyo State, even as the team arrested other members of the syndicate on March 9, 2016, at Olorunsogo area, Ibadan, Oyo State and Ogun State.
The Oyo/Ogbomosho SARS commander, Aremu arrested Oyekunle Azeez, 36, Adamu Balogun 35, Lateef Adeniyi 45, and Ogunsakin Toyin, 55, who were alleged to be armed robbers in addition to being members of the car-snatching syndicate.
At the headquarters of the Special Armed Robbery Squad of the Oyo State Police Command, the car-snatching kingpin, Adedeji Idowu, who spoke with Sunday Sun reporter, revealed that the core gang had 10 members, adding that they had stolen several cars in Ibadan, which they always drove to Rivers State, to be sold by a receiver.
His words: “We have a syndicate in Port Harcourt; I have received over 10 stolen cars. We have stolen several cars in Ibadan, Oyo State. Before this time I was a professional rewire (auto electrician).”
The kingpin who hails from Oyo South West Local Government Area, said: “In December 2015 and early 2016, we sold over 10 different cars which worth millions of naira. We sold the cars cheap, between N150,000 and N170,000, like bonanza, to people. We badly needed money to survive.
“We were arrested in Ibadan, so we took the police to Port Harcourt to recover some of the cars and also arrest other members of the syndicate.”
Two other members of the gang, who are indigenes of Ekiti State, revealed how they used master keys to unlock over six cars parked by their owners in Lagos and Oyo states.
The two receivers, 41-year-old Henry Dike, 41 and Muftau Mustapha 50, confessed that they had helped to sell over 15 cars brought to them by Idowu.
While the police is making progress in the investigation of the crime, Oyebade urged members of the public who lost their vehicles to car-snatchers to come to the command to identify the car stolen from them.
Oyebade assured that all the suspects would be charged to court soon.