A self-acclaimed Building Engineer has told operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command, that he is not an armed robber but a receiver of stolen vehicles.
The suspect, Kayode Haruna, who claimed to be a graduate of Yaba College of Technology, was alleged to have bought over 50 stolen vehicles from armed robbers at low prices after which would sell them members of the public.
The spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, told PUNCH Metro that the suspect advised the robbers to snatch unregistered vehicles coming into the country at the border.
She said because the vehicles were not registered, they were difficult to trace and the suspect would sell them to members of the public.
She said, “A gang of robbers were arrested last year and they confessed that their modus operandi was to snatch vehicles from people bringing in vehicles from Cotonou, Benin Republic. They would then sell the stolen vehicles to Haruna.
“Based on their confession, police began to search for Haruna. After months of investigation, he was arrested and he will be charged to court for receiving stolen goods.”
The 40-year-old suspect, however, told PUNCH Metro that he had sold only 30 vehicles as against the over 50 the police alleged.
The native of Kwara State said when he initially started dealing with the robbers, he did not know that the vehicles were stolen.
He added that when he later knew that the vehicles were stolen, he continued the business relationship because “the devil tempted” him to continue.
He said, “I was working at a construction site one day when one of my boys, Sola, gave me the telephone number of Stanley, whom he said was a customs officer that sold vehicles at very cheap prices. I met with Stanley, Ejike and Dada and they gave me very good prices. So, we started doing business.
“Most times, they called me with different telephone numbers and we met at different hotels in Egbeda, Mile 12 areas, Lagos, or the Mowe area of Ogun State.
I always paid cash and they handed over the vehicles to me. They told me the vehicles were impounded vehicles, so I did not suspect anything initially.
“On one occasion, however, they sold to me a blood-stained vehicle. This was when I started to suspect that they were armed robbers. I would have stopped dealing with them but the devil pushed me to continue to do business with them.”
When asked how much he usually bought and sold the vehicles, the father of four said, “I have bought and sold only 30 vehicles. I usually sell Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Highlander because the demand for the vehicles is high.
“The market price for Toyota Highlander is about N2.2m but I buy it at N1m. I buy Toyota Camry 2010 model for N1.5m and I sell it for N2.4m. The Toyota Camry I am currently driving, I bought it at N350,000.”