The Zone 2 Police Command has arrested suspected members of a syndicate for allegedly stealing an N8m truck, which they dismantled and sold to a mechanic for N350,000.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the owner of the truck, Macaulay Imasuen, a transporter, had bought the truck on hire purchase in January 2017.
He was travelling to Benin, Edo State, in June, when the MAN truck developed a fault at Ilabo village, in the Ikenne area of Ogun State.
Our correspondent learnt that after attempts to repair the vehicle failed, he left it till the following day.
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However, when the transporter returned to the scene, he discovered that the truck had disappeared.
“The man bought the truck brand new for N8m in January. He was using it for his haulage business. On June 1, he was travelling to Benin when the vehicle developed a fault. He made efforts to repair it till evening.
“Some operatives of the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps came to tow the truck to their yard, but he pleaded with them, so they left it.
“He went round the villages and couldn’t get any help. He was then advised to wait till the following morning when he would be able to get somebody to work on it.
“When he got there the following morning, the truck was nowhere to be found. He searched everywhere without any trace of the vehicle,” a friend of the victim, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
The source explained that on the fifth day, the victim got information from a resident who saw the truck being towed on the night of the incident.
Imasuen then alerted policemen from the Ikenne division, who started investigation which led to the arrest of the tow driver, Olufemi Olanipekun.
Our correspondent gathered that 65-year-old Olanipekun admitted to towing the truck, but maintained that he only delivered a professional service.
“He said one Adewale Durojaiye called him on the telephone for the job and he was paid N25,000. He expressed surprise that the police arrested him,” the friend said.
Olanipekun was said to have led the police to the receiver’s workshop on Makun Road, in the Sagamu area of Ogun State.
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The receiver, Abolore Oshileshi, allegedly confessed that he bought the truck for N350,000 from the prime suspect, Durojaiye, who had contacted Olanipekun to tow the truck from the road.
A police source said the truck owner was shocked when he discovered that his vehicle had been dismantled, with the engine and tyres missing just within five days.
“Oshileshi said he was also called on the telephone by Durojaiye who offered the MAN truck for sale at N350,000.
“He said he gave him N90,000 that day and he paid the balance the following day before the police from the Ikenne division arrested him.
“The suspect claimed to have sold the engine and tyres to a customer in Lagos for N900,000. He said he doesn’t know the man’s address,” the source added.
PUNCH Metro learnt that when the prime suspect, Durojaiye, was interrogated, he claimed that his attention was drawn to the broken-down truck by his boss, one Olugbenga Kazeem, aka Akile.
Kazeem, the mastermind of the crime, was alleged to have given Durojaiye the tow driver and receiver’s phone numbers for the smooth execution of the job.
“Durojaiye said he received N25,000 from Akile for the towing of the van and that it was Akile that did the negotiation for the truck for N350,000,” the police source said.
Our correspondent, however, learnt that the complainant, Imasuen, became uncomfortable with the way policemen from the Ikenne division were handling the case when the receiver of the truck was granted bail.
He was said to have petitioned the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command, Adamu Ibrahim, who referred the matter to the X-Squad Section for investigation.
The detectives were said to have rounded up all the suspects, who allegedly made confessional statements.
The Zone 2 Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident, adding that the suspects would be arraigned in court at the end of investigations.
She said, “It is a case of conspiracy, stealing, receiving of stolen property and malicious damage. The AIG has ordered that they should be charged to court at the end of investigations.
“Efforts are ongoing to arrest the fleeing member of the gang.”