Following an upsurge in vehicle theft at some black spots in Abuja City and its suburbs, Aso Chronicle looks at the new tricks the thieves have employed to commit the crime.
The popular Utako Market, which has been identified as one of the black spots for car stealing, is usually crowded, making it easy for the thieves to operate.
A trader in the market, Mr. Gabriel Francis, who spoke with our reporter, revealed some of the tactics the car thieves used.
Mr. Francis said the thieves loitered around the market as taxi operators or shoppers, and that once a shopper parked a vehicle they were interested in, one of them would trail the car owner while giving the other members of his gang update on the movement of the car owner.
“At the appropriate time, the thief trailing the car owner will signal his members to break into the car with a master key and drive away,” he said.
He further explained that the cars which were stolen at the market were the ones parked by the roadside outside the fenced parking lot.
He added that recently a man and his wife parked their car on Ekukinam Street, beside the market’s parking lot, and went into the market to shop and that by the time they came back, the car was stolen.
Another black spot for car theft is the area around Amigo Supermarket in Wuse II, Abuja.
A trader in the area, Mr. Alfred Moses, said some of the thieves sometimes stalked their victims with a chartered taxi, and that immediately the car owner parked and walked into a shop a member of the gang would walk confidently to the car and use a master key to open and drive it away.
“In fact, even last week, there was a man who lost his Toyota Camry here after he parked it by the walkway. And from the information I gathered the thieves trailed him. When the man parked and walked into a shop, before we knew what was happening, the car was missing,” he said.
Mr. Moses added that, “These car thieves hardly tamper with vehicles that have tracking devices because of the alarm. They mostly target Toyota Camry or Toyota Corolla. These are the brands that have been reportedly stolen around here.”
In Garki, Area 11, the area between NTA and AGIS is always congested and it makes it easy for the car thieves to operate.
A photographer in the area, Mr. Segun Adewale, said some thieves broke into one of the vehicles that was parked opposite the FCDA gate after the owner walked into the premises.
Mr. Adewale said some of the thieves used master keys and moved around in taxis to monitor their victims.
“In February this year a man came and even snapped an urgent passport in my place. And because the parking space was filled up, he decided to park by the road. When he went into FCDA and came back, he couldn’t find his car,” he said.
Recent arrests made by the FCT Police Command have revealed that the car thieves have gone as far as posing as people wanting to buy cars.
In an incident at Zuba, a satellite town, some car snatchers went to a car dealer’s stand pretending to want to buy a car. Upon agreeing on terms with the car dealer, the dealer then told one of his “boys” to take the supposed buyers on a test drive.
However, on driving out of the car dealer’s shop, the car snatchers shot the boy, pushed his body out of the car and drove off.
Narrating another technique deployed by car snatchers, DCP Salisu Gyadi-Gyadi of the FCT Police Command, said police operatives from the Utako Divisional Police Headquarters arrested one Destiny Sunday (42) on March 30, 2019, in connection with a robbery case in Jabi, Abuja, and was handed over to the Anti-Car Theft Section of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
“During investigation, he confessed dispossessing seven taxi drivers of their vehicles in collaboration with one Obadiah (surname unknown) who is at large.
“He explained that Obadiah scouted and hired taxis from areas within Abuja to Jabi. On getting to Jabi, Destiny Sunday, on the pretence of settling the taxi fare, would use a gun-like object to ask the driver out while Obadiah would take over the driver’s seat and both would drive off.
“He further explained that they had buyers who placed requests for particular brands of cars which they in turn scouted for, snatched and delivered,” the police chief narrated.
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