ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
A commercial tricycle driver, Mr Thankgod Godwin, aged 40, has been nabbed by the operatives of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service (BSVS) for serial pickpocketing.
Godwin, who hails from Oghara in Delta State, was arrested on Monday at the popular Tombia-Etegwe roundabout in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Godwin, in collaboration with his accomplice, one Keme, allegedly operates with his tricycle to steal valuables from passengers’ pockets on a daily basis.
Shedding light on the suspect’s arrest, the Chairman, BSVS, Hon. Doubiye Alagba, said Godwin was arrested after he was identified and trailed by a victim he had stolen phone and money from last Thursday along the Alamieyeseigha Expressway in Yenagoa.
He said: “The suspect and his accomplice, Keme, popularly known as Lion, who resides in Biogbolo, now at large, are specialists in pickpocketing, using tricycle (Keke).
“Luck ran out on them on Monday when they were identified by a victim they allegedly stole from last Thursday and he was arrested while his Keke has been burnt down by angry mobs.”
The victim, Mr. Stanley Egwe, confirmed the BSVS boss’ report, saying that the suspect robbed him of his phone and money.
Egwe stated: “Last Thursday, along the Alamieyeseigha expressway, I boarded their Keke. The suspect was the driver and his second, Keme, sat beside me. We agreed that I was going to drop off at Akenpai junction.
“But I was surprised when the driver stopped halfway and said he was no more going and that I should come down, unknown to me that his accomplice had already stolen my phone and money.
“This morning (Monday), I was on my way to work at Akenpai junction when I saw those same boys inside the same Keke. I immediately followed them with another tricycle, thinking when we got to Tombia roundabout, I would see a police van at the junction and raise the alarm.
“But when we got to the junction, there was no police van. I immedately ran into their vehicle and raise the alarm. The Bayelsa State Vigilante members stationed there quickly came to my rescue and one of them escaped and the driver was caught.”
Alagba further disclosed that the suspect confessed that he had been in the business of pickpocketing for months after learning the illegal “business” from Keme who narrowly escaped from the tricycle.
He said the suspect also confessed that they operate on a daily basis using the tricyle.
Alagba said four phones and some cash (money) were recovered from the suspect, which according to him were stolen only on Monday from passengers.
He said the suspect had been handed over to the Ekeki Division of the Nigeria Police Force in the state capital for further investigation.