Suspected Burglars Break Into Store, Steal N23m Gold

Three suspected Burglars who allegedly broke into a gold store in Ikeja, Lagos, and stole pieces of gold worth N23m and over N100,000 cash have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command. The suspects idnetified as Moses Obande, Ogbulaja Ogaba and Izuchukwu Ezeobi were said to have burgled the gold store situated on Unity Road, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos, last December and escaped with the precious material. It was learnt that the three suspects were apprehended by operatives of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad, led by SP Abba Kyari, after the owner of the store, identified simply as Mrs. Ekong, reported the matter to the former Commissioner of Police, AIG Umar Manko. One of the suspects, Moses Obande who was the mastermind of the operation, was gathered to be working as a security man at the gold store at the time of the burglary. After the crime, it was difficult to locate Moses Obande, because he allegedly applied as a guard with a fake house address and unregistered SIM card. He was said to have worked for Mrs Ekong between October and December last year. Along the line, he reportedly contacted two other guards, Ogbulaja Ogaba and Izechukwu Ezeobi, to assist him in breaking into the jewellery store located on Unity Road, off Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way. Meanwhile information at Vanguard’s disposal revealed that Obande was once charged for kidnap and murder. He was alleged to have kidnapped an unnamed woman alongside members of a kidnap syndicate some years ago in Sagamu area of Ogun State, collected ransom and later murdered the victim. The three men after committing the crime, reportedly met at a hotel in Bolade, Oshodi, where they discussed plans to sell their loot. Ogaba allegedly got 35 pieces of gold from Obande, which he sold to one Mallam Garba for N80,000. Obande, it was learnt, allegedly took the remaining pieces to Yaba, and sold them for N1.2m. According to the police, the mode of operation of the gang, apart from working as security guards, was the use of fake certificates, addresses and unregistered SIM cards which made it difficult for them to be traced. Thirty-two-year-old Obande from Okopkwu, Benue State, who said he arranged with his friends to burgle his employer’s gold store because he needed to pay his house rents, having endured disturbances from his landlady said: “I was a security man and lived with my family at Olufunmilayo Close, in the Agbado Ijaiye area of Lagos. I have stayed in Lagos since 2007. I was employed at the place in October 2013 and was earning N17,000 monthly. “The certificates I used to get the job belong to my younger brother. I needed to pay for my rents at that time. So, I resorted to that action.” Obande, who is married with two children, added that he used the money he realised from the burglary to relocate his family to Benue State where he started plank business. It was learnt that the SARS operatives arrested him in his hometown. 28-year-old Ogaba from Ado, also in Benue State, his N80,000 share was used to register his siblings for a terminal examination. He said: “I was doing car wash business in the Agege area. I knew Moses when he was staying at neighbouring Iju Ishaga area. What really happened was that he told me he got a security man job at a gold store, and that he planned to burgle the shop and flee with the money. “He invited me to join him. One morning, he called me on the telephone to say he had already carried out his plan and asked me to meet him at a location. There, he gave me 35 pieces to sell for him, and I did and made N80,000. I used the money to register my siblings for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations.” In his own confession, Ezeobi, 36, from Anambra State, claimed he had only provided Obande with a buyer for the stolen gold pieces, but did not collect any money. He said, “I work as a printer and also do video editing jobs. I got to know Moses in 2010 through one Emma. I was formerly living in Kogi State. It is true that he called my number after he burgled the store and asked me to get him a buyer for the stolen goods. But I never collected any money from him. I did not know how much he even sold them.”

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