Chigozie Anene, a 29-year-old man has confessed that he went into armed robbery, particularly the snatching of tricycles to boost his second-hand clothes business and give his late father a befitting burial, The Nation reports.
Anene also revealed that he and his gang members were buying stolen goods from burglars and armed robbers.
He said he used to steal expensive cars and tricycles and sell them at give away price. For instance, he said, they could sell a car worth N10 million for half a million naira.
Police sources said he had a tricycle mechanic who was helping him to change some parts of a tricycle he had stolen so that whoever would buy it would not suspect that it was stolen. Anene was said to have gone into hiding after his gang was bursted by the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
Revealing how the he was arrested by IRT operatives, the source said the operatives tactically asked Anene whether he had a tricycle he wanted to sell, with one of the IRT operatives posing as a buyer. But he was arrested as soon as he surfaced in a meeting with the ‘buyer’.
Narrating how he began the venture into armed robbery, Anene, a father of two, said: “I live in a one-room apartment at No. 4 Mosalasi Street, Igando, Lagos.
“I used to operate as one-man gang, singlehandedly stealing tricycles in my neighbourhood.
“My problem started when one Tunbu and one Prince became my friends and lured me into forming a three-man robbery gang to make bigger money.
“They convinced me that there is less risk in snatching cars than tricycles and that stolen cars have more standby buyers.”
Asked why he preferred to operate as a one-man gang, he said he operated without a gun or the risk of being exposed by any arrested gang member.
He added: “The urge to give my father a befitting burial contributed most to my forming a robbery gang as well as getting enough money to boost my second-hand clothes business and live big like some of my mates.
“When I decided to stop armed robbery, my members nearly assassinated me because they felt that they were no longer safe and they would not be able to rest after any robbery operation, because I could become a police informant.”
On what other thing that pushed him into armed robbery, he said: “When I wanted to start second-hand clothes business, there was no capital and no collateral to borrow money with.
“To make matters worse, my father had no savings and did not leave anything of value that I could sell to get some money to start business with.
“She was not happy about it, but there was nothing she could have done to stop me because I was desperate to get money to boost my business and give my late father a befitting burial.
“It was last year that my father died. I went to bury him and came back. Unfortunately, one boy carried my market, sold it and ran to Cotonou.
“When I went to their house and could not find him, I carried his elder brother’s generator and sold it for N6,000.
“My problem worsened when one of my friends named Kaka said we should do business together, not knowing that what he meant was for us to form a car snatching gang.
“He told me that we should start lifting and selling Big Daddy (Toyota) cars and fairly used tricycles to make more money.
“The first Big Daddy car and so called fairly used tricycles we got, I could not account for any of them because my members refused to tell me whether they sold them or not.
“Rather, they kept telling me that the police were pursuing them and they had to abandon the stolen vehicles, which sounded to me like a cock and bull story. They have not given me a dime from the stolen vehicles.
“When I tried to locate Kaka, they told me that he had relocated to his village while Tunbu’s whereabouts are still not known to till now.”
Asked his advice for people who are still into crime, he said: “Crime is a curse; run away from it while your legs can still carry you.
“Stealing and armed robbery have only two bus stops: prison and graveyard.”