Two entertainers, a musician and a pianist have been arrested by the Rapid Response Squad unit of the Lagos Police Command for robbery.
The police in a statement said the duo confessed that they were forced into the robbery by the need to survive the hunger caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The suspects – Chinonso Michael, 25 years, an Afro-pop singer and Chimelu Victory, 22 years, a pianist – were arrested last week Wednesday in the company of 5 other suspects at their residence at 4, Modupe Young Thomas Estate, Ajah, Lagos by the Decoy Team of RRS.
The duo had on April 10, 2020, ordered an iPhone 11 Pro Max valued at N450,000:00 on an online platform, Jiji.com from their service charge apartment in Ajah and pledged to pay on delivery.
On receipt of the consignment from a delivery man, one Anifowoshe Itunu, Chimelu, the buyer generated a fake alert to the rider first and later, with the connivance of Chinonso escaped from the apartment after they had deceived the despatch rider by offering him a bottle of beer.
The suspects then sold the iPhone 11 Pro Max to a buyer in Ogba, Ikeja Lagos for a sum of N350,000. The buyer transferred the money into Chinoso’s bank account.
Police said the suspects jumped off from the first floor where their apartment is located to the ground naked and escaped into the streets after sighting police officers.
They confessed that it was the third time they sold iPhone 11 Pro Max during the COVID-19 lockdown, adding that two of the phones were stolen online with stolen credit cards.
One of the suspects, Chinonso, police said fractured his arm and bruised his chin immediately he landed on the ground floor. He then instantly took to the streets naked before he was arrested and taken to the hospital.
In their confessions, Chinonso and Chimelo, who are regular performers in some Lagos night clubs separately attributed their actions to COVID 19 lockdown stressing that “during the lockdown, there was nothing going and we didn’t have anything to eat for like two – weeks.
“We were already owing all the store owners in the neighbourhood. Nobody was ready to give us credit anymore. We had to devise a means to survive the lockdown,” they said.
Chinonso, a music teacher in Ava, Abia State before moving to Lagos State, recently changed his stage name from Authority to Happy Boy and joined Chimelu at his Ajah residence in March.
Chimelu, popularly called Apostle Swag recently resigned as a Lekki church keyboardist to pursue a career in music, said he used to have regular shows in Lagos clubs before the lockdown.
He stated that ‘the plan of a service charge apartment was to create the impression that they live there in the mind of the dispatch rider.”
The suspects confessed that apart from their musical careers, they also engage in internet fraud.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects include one iPhone 11Pro Max, three laptops, two flash drives, two modems, two memory cards, four SIM cards, one Samsung phone and one iPhone.
The suspects have been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for further investigations and prosecution.
Commenting on the development, Lagos State police commissioner Hakeem Odumosu stated that the internet is a fertile ground for opportunities.
He assured Lagosians that the State Command would not allow criminals use the internet as an avenue to exploit legitimate business owners.