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Friday, 12 October 2018

Ex-convict impersonates customer, steals make-up artistes’ phones.

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An alleged phone thief, Silas Chinedu, has been arrested for allegedly stealing the mobile phones of some make-up artistes.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the modus operandi of the suspect was to approach make-up artists who were looking for customers with the proposal that they do make up for some young female models.

It was learnt that during negotiation, usually in restaurants or hotels, the victims would hand over their phones to Chinedu to see the works they had done in the past.

The police told our correspondent that the 26-year-old suspect would announce that he wanted to show his boss the works and subsequently make away with the victims’ phones.

One of the victims, Peace Usoro, said Chinedu stole two phones belonging to her and her apprentice.

She said, “Chinedu met with me and asked if I could make up for 15 girls. I told him that I could do it for N3,000 each. He said we should go to the hotel where I was going to do the job.

“I went with my apprentice to the hotel; he took us to the bar and bought us drink. We started discussing the job and he said he wanted to see my previous jobs. I handed my apprentice phone to him first because I was using my phone to make calls. After he finished going through my apprentice phone, he said the pictures were not enough and I gave him my phone while he was still holding my apprentice phone.

“After I handed my phone to him, he said he wanted to check if the girls were ready for the make-up. He took the two phones with him and left us at the bar. When we later asked about him, the hotel denied knowing him. We were told that he fled through the back door of the hotel.”

Another victim, Balikis Olawale, said, “After we negotiated and agreed on the price, my apprentice and I followed him to a hotel. He requested for pictures of my previous works and I handed him my phone. He said to show his boss and left with my phone.

“After we waited for some hours and we didn’t see him, I raised the alarm and I was told that the management of the hotel was looking for him because he had used the place to operate in the past.”

It was gathered that Chinedu was arrested sometime in June when one of his victims saw him in the Mile 2 area of the state and raised the alarm.

In his statement to the police, the Imo State indigene confessed to the crime adding that he learnt it from one Rabiu who he met at Alaba International Market.

He said, “Rabiu taught me the job. The trick works more with women who are make-up artistes.

“I used to sell the phones to Rabiu and I have lost count of the phones that I stole through the method. I was arrested and after spending seven months in prison, I was allowed to go home.

“But when there was no work, I started stealing phones again from April till the day I was arrested.”

Chinedu was arraigned before an Ogba Magistrates’ Court on four counts bordering on conspiracy and robbery.

The police prosecutor, Micheal Unah, said the offences contravened sections 411 and 297(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The charges read in part, “That you, Silas Chinedu, and others now at large, on May 12, 2018, at about 1.20pm, at Issuba Hotel, Olodi-Apapa, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourself to commit felony to wit: Armed robbery.

“That you, Silas Chinedu, and others now at large, on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid magisterial district, while armed with a gun and other weapons, did rob one Samsung Galaxy handset value N50,000 and one Gionee handset value N30,000, total value N80,000, property of Peace Usoro.

The presiding magistrate, Mr A. A. Fashola, declined the defendant’s plea and order that the suspect be remanded in prison.

He thereafter adjourned the case till December 10, 2018.
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