The Imo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested five suspects for allegedly stealing different brands of android phones.
The suspects are Sunday Ukaeri, 23, of Umuozu in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of the state; Tochukwu Ukaegbulam, 25, who hails from Akabo in the Ikeduru Local Government Area; Nzechukwu Opara, 25, also from Akabo; Joan Njoku, 24, a native of Owala Avuvu in the Ikeduru LGA of the state; and Mohammed Ali, 21, who hails from Tawa in Niger Republic.
Parading suspects on Monday, the state Corps Commandant, NSCDC, Mr Raji Ibrahim, said Opara was arrested in Akabo on March 7, 2020, for snatching of bags, stealing of smartphones and conspiracy, among others.
An Infinix smartphone was recovered from him as exhibit.
Ibrahim stated that Joan and Ali were arrested at Orji in the Owerri North Local Government Area and Ama Hausa in the Owerri Municipal LGA, respectively.
“When Ali was arrested on March 8, 2020, a Tecno LB3 phone was recovered from him as exhibit. He has been charged with snatching bags, stealing of smartphones and conspiracy, among others,” he said.
Ibrahim advised members of the public to always buy phones from registered dealers and obtain receipts so as not to be arrested by security operatives.
“Whenever you want to buy a phone, go to any registered shop and buy it and demand the receipt to avoid being molested and embarrassed by security operatives. In criminal law, the buyer of any stolen good is the first criminal,” he added.
Ali confessed to the crime and said he was stopped by Joan as he was coming out from the mosque around 5.30pm the day before his arrest.
He said, “Joan stopped me and started telling me that she had a problem and wanted to sell her phone and use the proceeds to solve her immediate problem. After bargaining with her, she came down to N19,000 and I paid her the money and collected the phone.
“What I saw the next day was the same Joan and two other men in mufti. She pointed at me and the men held me and identified themselves as operatives of the NSCDC. From there, they asked me whether I bought a phone from Joan. When I answered in the affirmative, they took both of us to the command, alleging that I bought a stolen phone.”
Joan confessed to stealing the phone but that when the owner started tracking it, she had to sell it for N19,000 to Ali.