Two robbery suspects arrested by the Lagos State Police Command have attributed their action to hunger occasioned by the lockdown imposed on the state by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suspects, Chinonso Michael, an afro hip-hop singer, and Chimelu Victory, a pianist, were arrested by the decoy team of the Rapid Response Squad for allegedly defrauding a dispatch rider with a fake bank alert.
It was gathered that the suspects, on April 10, 2020, ordered an iPhone 11 Pro Max valued at N450,000 from an online platform, Jiji.com, and were to pay on delivery at a service charge apartment they were staying.
PUNCH Metro learnt that upon receiving the phone, Victory generated a fake alert for the dispatch rider, one Itunu Anifowoshe, and escaped from the apartment with the help of Michael after tying down the rider.
Our correspondent learnt that the suspects sold the phone to a buyer in the Ogba area of the state for N350,000, which was transferred into Michael’s bank account.
It was gathered that Michael fractured his arm and bruised his chin, while he and Victory jumped from the first floor of their apartment at No. 4 Modupe Young Thomas Estate, Ajah, on sighting the police.
The suspects, who confessed to the crime, stated that that was their third time of selling iPhone 11 Pro Max during the lockdown, adding that two of the phones were bought online with stolen credit cards.
In their confessional statement to the police, the suspects, who were performers at some clubs in the state, attributed their actions to the lockdown.
The suspects reportedly said in their statements, “During the lockdown, nothing was going on and we didn’t have anything to eat for two weeks. We already owed all the store owners in the neighbourhood.
“Nobody was ready to sell to us on credit anymore. We had to devise a means to survive the lockdown.”
Victory, who noted that he used to have regular shows at clubs before the lockdown, stated that the service charge apartment was to create the impression that they live there to the dispatch rider.
According to the police, one iPhone 11Pro Max, three laptops, two flash drives, two WiFi modems, two memory cards, four SIM cards, one Samsung phone and one iPhone were recovered from the suspects, who also confessed to engaging in Internet fraud.
Our correspondent learnt that the suspects had been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit for further investigation.
Reacting to the suspects’ arrest, the state Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu, stated that the Internet was a fertile ground for business opportunities, but the command would not allow criminals to use it as an avenue to exploit legitimate business owners.