A suspect, Bashir Adamu, who was a beggar and arrested for allegedly assaulting motorists and snatching phones and handbags, on Tuesday said his targets were expatriates who worshiped at the National Mosque, Abuja.
The 27-year-old, who was arrested along with two others, revealed that they only carry out their operations on Fridays during Juma’at prayers.
He added that he had stolen phones at the National Mosque twice before he was apprehended by the Federal Capital Territory police operatives.
Adamu claimed that he had stolen only two phones, adding that the first handset was recovered by its owner, while the police retrieved the second stolen phone.
Adamu, who admitted that he was just released on bail, said,
“I only target oyinbo people (expatriates) who come to the National Mosque to pray on Fridays.
“Sometimes, they give alms and while they are doing that, I steal their phones or bags from their car and run. I use the money to feed,”
Another suspect, Alex Chidubem, 30, was arrested after allegedly stabbing a technician, Yusuf Awala, from whom he had allegedly stolen a phone.
Awala, who sustained knife injuries in the left arm, explained that Chidubem attacked him because he (Awala) sighted him where he hid near the National Mosque.
“He (Chidubem) tried to stab me in the stomach, but I blocked him and he stabbed me in the arm,” Awala, whose arm was bandaged, said.
But Chidubem denied the allegation, saying he was on the way to meeting someone who had promised to get him a job as a car wash attendant when he was arrested.
“I was on my way to see the person who promised me a job when a policeman stopped me around the mosque and demanded my identity card. When I could not provide any, he arrested me,” he said.
An Abuja resident, Rodney Osaji, who was instrumental to Chidubem’s arrest, said when he saw his suspicious movement, he concluded that he was a criminal.
He noted that he (Osaji) immediately alighted from the car and held him.
“I asked a taxi driver to get the police and when they arrested him, his victims identified him as a serial phone and bag snatcher,” he added.