Tuesday, November 12, 2013

CONFESSION: I’ve Sold Stolen Cars To Politician, Lecturers – Suspect

Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Lagos State have arrested three men for buying and selling stolen cars.

According to Police authorities, the suspects, Paul Chukwu, Chika Eze and Ifeanyi Ekene are not robbers, but buyers, who buy  stolen vehicles from a group of armed robbers at cheap prices only to sell them for high profit.
PUNCH Metro was told that the suspects usually issue fake documents to buyers after every transaction.
It was learnt that one of  the suspects had sold stolen vehicles to a serving member of the House of Representatives, a lecturer and a lawyer in Ebonyi State.
Ekene, who claimed to be 32 years old, said, “I am from Anambra State, but I sell auto spare parts in Alagbado area of Lagos. I used to buy used vehicles from Dubai but a friend of mine, Ifeanyi, who is based in Akure, introduced me to some people who sell cars at cheaper prices.
“I asked if they were armed robbers and they said no, that they only use master keys to open cars and steal them. The first car they gave me was a Toyota Corolla 2008 model which they sold to me for N400,000 but the market value is about N2.5m.
“Later, they gave me three Volkswagen Vento cars  for N350,000 each. The market value is actually N600,000. They sold me a Toyota Camry 1998 model for N300, 000. They also gave me a Nissan Pathfinder and a Toyota Highlander for N700, 000 each. I made over 100 per cent profit on each vehicle.”
Asked how he usually sold the car to members of the public without arousing suspicion, the suspect said he usually changed the number plates and regularised the documents through the help of some customs-licensed agents in the state.
Ekene said, “Nigeria is one of the easiest places to sell a stolen car. Japanese vehicles like Toyota and Nissan are in high demand and they move quickly. When the robbers bring the vehicles, they remove the number plate. What I do later is to go to Berger, give an agent N10,000 to help me do vehicle papers.
“A number plate costs about N32,000 to do. If the stolen vehicle is engraved with the old number, I take the vehicle to a workshop in Ladipo Market where a panel beater will help me to remove the old number.”
Another suspect, Chukwu, a car dealer, said he sold stolen vehicles to a federal lawmaker, lecturers and pastors.
He told PUNCH Metro that he suspected that the vehicles were stolen because they were very cheap.
He said, “I usually go to Benin Republic to buy vehicles and I pay security operatives N35,000 to help me smuggle the cars in because no one stops them on the road. It was a friend, Uche that introduced me to an armed robber, Ozo, in Lagos.
“Ozo sold a Toyota RAV4 and a Toyota Camry to me for N200, 000 each at that time; I did not know he was a robber until one day.
“While I was driving with him in a car, he came down from the vehicle, brought out a gun and snatched a Toyota J4 Cruiser from somebody. That was when I knew that he was a robber.
“At that point, I said I wouldn’t patronise him anymore. After I had cut ties with him, police arrested him and he implicated me.”
Eze, on his part, bought a Toyota J4 Cruiser from the robbers at the cost of N500, 000. PUNCH Metro learnt that the second-hand market value of the vehicle was N4m.
“I suspected that the vehicle was stolen but I was broke. I sold the vehicle the same week at N700, 000,” he said.
Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, told PUNCH Metro that the Toyota J4 cruiser had been recovered, while efforts were on to recover the others.
Braide said, “The robbers that stole the vehicles had been charged to the court. These receivers will be charged to the court as well.”


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