From Molly Kilete, Abuja
It is a sad end for a 28-year-old man, who specialised in robbing Point of Sales (POS) operators at gunpoint in Kubwa, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He is also a dealer in suspected stolen cars.
Kelvin, who had robbed over 25 POS operators was arrested by men of the FCT Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), at Byazhin, following several complaints by the POS operators.
Kelvin said hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed him into the act. He said he made between N50,000 and N200,000. His modus operandi was to use his locally made gun to threaten his victims, who, for fear of being killed, emptied their purses and handed over the day’s transactions to him:
“I went into robbing POS operators when things became very difficult for me as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. At that time things were so bad that I could not even afford a meal. With the help of one of my friends, I got a locally made pistol and some live cartridges from him and bought a knife.
“Armed with these, I set out for the business. I usually put the gun in my combat trousers’ pocket and always wear big trousers to keep the gun and knife safe anytime I was going for robbery operations.
“I would go to the POS area and pretended to deposit money or to withdraw. I would make sure I was the only person there at the particular time that I wanted to attack. But, before I hit them, I would stay some meters away from the spot and watched how people were paying and withdrawing money.
“It was only when I was sure that there was enough money that I would approach them. And I would not just go there, I usually pretended to be a customer. When they wanted to attend to me, I would go inside their cage, brought out my gun and ordered them to surrender all the cash in their possession. Since they would not want to die, they would give me everything.
“I would warn them not to shout, they would cooperate, I would take the money and walked away. During my first operation, I robbed a woman and from there I had robbed both male and female.
“I cannot really give a total of what I made because I spent the money as I got it. I used to play gamble, I took my friends out to drink. I bought data and recharge cards for my phone and I used the rest to flex.
“But sometimes I could get N200,000, sometimes N50,000, sometimes N100,000, N80,000 and evening as small as N20,000. But the day I was arrested, I got N40,000, which the police took from me, they said they would use it as evidence.”
‘Why I bought, sold stolen cars’
It was the same fate for 35-year-old Musa Adams, currently cooling off in the custody of the FCT Police Command Anti-Car Theft Unit, for buying stolen cars from criminals and selling same to unsuspected buyers.
The suspect, who confessed to have been in the business for the past seven years, said he has built two houses, married three wives and bought motorcycles with the proceeds from the loot.
Although he has been in the watch list of the FCT police for sometime now, he was however arrested at his hideout in Kaduna, Kaduna state and found in possession of two stolen cars a black Honda Odessey with registration number MD 345 KJA and a gold Toyota Camry car with registration number BJ48 DKA.
For the prompt arrival of the police operatives to his hideout where he was cooling off and waiting for an unsuspecting buyer to pay for one of the vehicles, he would have disappeared as he always did.
The suspect told Daily Sun that he went into the business about eight years ago after one of his friends, Mohammed, introduced him to it, admitting that he knew the vehicles were stolen but the profits he could not stop doing it.
On how many of such stolen cars he had sold, Musa said he has lost count because of the number: “The good thing about the business is that you always have cash with you.
“I have a contact with virtually all the criminals and car snatching syndicates operating around Kaduna, Jos, Kano and even Abuja. They know they can always count on me to buy the vehicles as soon as they contact me. So what I do is that I make sure I am in constant touch with them to ensure they don’t take the cars to other dealers.
“Whenever they snatch any vehicle, they call me or I call them and we arrange for a place to meet. If I inspect the vehicle and like it, I will pay them cash. Sometimes, I buy the vehicle for between N200,000 and N400,000, if it is very clean and I pay cash.
“Usually, we go for Toyota because it is very easy to sell and it is in hot demand especially for people who want to go into UBER business. Usually vehicles don’t stay with me for more than 24 hours because I have people who are on the queue waiting to buy and they come with cash.
“I don’t like somebody paying in to my account because the nature of the business demands that you have cash 24/7. You can be called upon at any hour of the day and the people do not want to hear English. If you don’t have cash, they will call another person because we are many into this business. They don’t want to hear come tomorrow or later. That is the way the business runs.”
“Apart from Toyota cars, we also go after buses, Sharon, Sienna and other brands of space cars. We also go for Golf cars because all these brands that I mentioned are in hot demand especially in the North because they use it for transport business.”
How does he get particulars to sell the vehicles? Musa responded: “That one is not a problem. I have plenty of vehicle papers. Besides, some of these stolen vehicles have their original/photocopies inside which I use to sell them.
“That is why it is not very good to drive with your original vehicle papers. But some people say they carry the papers because they don’t want harassment by police and other security personnel.”
Wondering how much he disposes the vehicles: “It depends on how much I buy them and how clean they are. That is what determines the prices. But, I sell them between N400,000, N600,000 and N800,000, depending on the grade.
“I have made a lot of money because since I started, I have been able to build two houses, bought land, motorcycles which I gave to people to use as transport. I enjoy myself with the rest of the money and take care of my family.”