Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Five suspected members of a car- snatching syndicate have been arrested by operatives of the Delta State police command.
The suspects who hail from various states in the southern part of the country reside in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, from where they plan and execute their car-snatching activities.
They include the leader of the gang, Victor Nele (33), Abraham Dafe, Adebayo Muideen, Chima Emmanuel and Melvin Otete.
They are believed to have snatched a Toyota Camry car with registration number AG 805 LEH from its owner, one Bright Ngbeken at Ozoro junction, Oleh at gunpoint in 2018.
Their mode of operation, according to the Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, who confirmed the arrest on Tuesday in Asaba, is to snatch a car, take it to a workshop in Port Harcourt where it is refurbished and issued with a fake number.
Onovwokpoyeya said operatives acting on a tip-off after they snatched the Camry car, apprehended the first buyer, Abraham Dafe, who resides in Port Harcourt.
The command spokesman said Dafe led detectives to the leader of the gang, one Victor Nele, a native Ogoni but resides at Elele, near Port Harcourt.
Though Nele denied being the actual robber, he admitted purchasing “two cars from a man called ‘General’ from Omoku in Rivers State, who is not a car dealer.
“He also admitted that the plate number found on the vehicle recovered from him, a light brown Toyota Camry with fake registration number UGH 916 NQ, was discovered to belong to a RAV 4 vehicle robbed from its owner, one Engineer Emomoh Akpovona at gunpoint.
“The said RAV 4 is yet to be recovered and the original plate number of the Toyota Camry yet to be recovered also.
“The said suspect, Victor Nele, had already prepared a fake vehicle particular with the robbed RAV 4 plate number in his own name with which to sell the said suspected stolen Camry.”
The image maker added that Nele led detectives to Chima Emmanuel (31) who hails from Ahiazu Mbise, Imo State, but resides at Eguruta, Port Harcourt in Rivers State.
“He (Chima) is a motor mechanic but doubles as a driver to the dealers in stolen vehicles and as well assists to confirm the state or condition of the stolen vehicles and how much to pay for the received stolen cars.
“Though he denied being involved in car snatching and transacting any vehicle business with the ring leader, Victor Nele but admitted seeking customers for people who want to sell their vehicles. He is also into buying and selling of illegally-acquired vehicles.
“Adebayo Muideen (32) hails from Osun State but resides at Rumudimaya in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has a car stand at Eguruta, Rivers State which he shares with another of his partner one Melvin Otete (41), hails from Delta State but resides in Rumuhalu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where they carry out their nefarious deals of buying and selling stolen/illegally-acquired vehicles, preparing fake vehicle documents for vehicles.
“A black Toyota Corolla with registration number UGE 391 BQ was recovered from Melvin Otete suspected to have been stolen. The investigation revealed that the said vehicle belonged to Oceanic Insurance group of companies but a fake vehicle particulars were produced on demand without recourse to the original owner.”