Hi-tech security operatives of the Delta State Police Command, on Friday, January 30, 2013, swooped on a gang of car-jackers syndicate who ferry stolen vehicles into a workshop hideout in Asaba, the Delta state capital.
The vehicles are allegedly solen from their original owners at gun-points from across the country and subsequently refurbished and sold to unsuspecting buyers.
The workshop, located on a fallow piece of land, surrounded by several high rise buildings, on a cul-de-sac off the popular Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street, which is a link road between the popular Jesus Saves and DLA roads in Asaba, the state capital, was nondescript and littered with about 15 (fifteen) cars and vans of different makes and in different stages of visible make over, when the men of the Delta State Police Command swooped in on the unsuspecting suspects.
The complete refurbishment, including panel beating, spray painting and engraving of new numbers on the screens had already been carried out on five cars, all parked neatly and awaiting unsuspecting buyers, while about 10 others were undergoing the process of being refurbished.
Among those in the processing line for a complete make-over, were a Toyota Highlander Jeep, with registration number AKD 703 AE (LAGOS), which according to police sources, was snatched at gun point in Enugu State recently and also a Mitsubishi bus, with registration number EG 743 GGE (Lagos).
Others vehicles with Lagos plate numbers: DS 929 GGE, BB 526 AKD, EKY 403 AY, AAA 71 CH, EKY 497 BV, APP 18 AE, EKY 109 AV and JJT 403 AF, as well as those with Enugu registration numbers include ENU 408 DE, BB 514 ENU BT 887 ENU; Imo State with a Toyota Corolla with the registration number SW 402 RLU and a bus with Anambra State registration number XC 299 AT were all seen in the workshop, which was also littered with old and new plate numbers.
The state Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba, supported by his new Police Public Relations Officer, Tina Kalu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, paraded the suspect at the scene of the crime and told newsmen that five of the suspects nabbed at the scene, had earlier snatched the Highlander Jeep at gunpoint in Enugu a few days ago, without knowing that it had a tracker.
Aduba said that operatives of the police command, acting on a confidential tip-off, quickly interfaced with the vigilantes and some public spirited individuals and stormed the workshop and discovered the Toyota Highlander, which he confirmed was snatched from one Uche Osigwe at Ozo-Odogwu, opposite Phase 6 Trans-Ekulu area in Enugu State, parked in the workshop compound.
“One Felix Ndah, suspected to be the owner of the property, and another accomplice, who had earlier absconded, were equally apprehended through the assistance of Asaba Vigilate.”
Items recovered from the car smuggling scene, according to the CP, include the Highlander Jeep, the Mitsubishi vehicle and several plate numbers and instruments used for panel beating and painting of vehicles and the suspects.
The arrested suspects who are already in police custody were also said to be assisting the police in its investigation, adding that they would soon be charged to court.