The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a robbery suspect, Olawale Olabinwonu, while attempting to sell a stolen vehicle. Olabinwonu, an administrative officer of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, was arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad while trying to sell a Nissan Sentra, 2015 model.
The vehicle, whose number plate was changed, had been placed on an online shopping platform, where it was advertised for sale.
Police investigators had, on seeing the advert, called the contact on the website to indicate interest. A man, who took custody of the car where it was parked in the Lekki area of the state, was said to have been arrested.
The suspect, however, denied ownership of the car and subsequently led detectives to Olabinwonu’s residence.
Olabinwonu was reported to have packed out of the house with his family after sensing danger.
He was, however, tracked to a church in the area where he was arrested.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the vehicle, which is owned by a bank, was stolen at gunpoint when some robbers attacked a hotel in the Iju-Ishaga area where the manager of the bank lodged.
The robbers were said to have made away with the car along with other valuables of the banker.
Olabinwonu, in his statement to the police, said the car was given to him by a friend he identified as Ahmed Abbey, who asked him to find a buyer for it.
He explained that he consulted his pastor twice, who assured him that nothing would go wrong and he could go ahead with the sale. He said, “I met Abbey at Dammy Jay Hotel, Ikorodu. He came to my table, bought drinks for everyone and we became friends. While I was going home, he gave me N2,000.
“I saw Abbey later that week to ask if he could help me with some money because I had no job. He asked if I could help his sister, who was travelling overseas, to sell her car.
“I consulted my pastor and he told me to collect the car from him. I took the car from him, but after about three weeks and I couldn’t get a buyer, he took the car from me.
“Some weeks later, I saw him with the car and he challenged me that I didn’t want to sell the car. After a while, we agreed that I should try again.
“I consulted my pastor again for him to pray about it. This time, my pastor introduced me to someone in Lekki, who had a car park at a very conspicuous place, where we could put the car for sale. The car was there when I learnt that it was stolen at gunpoint.”
Olabinwonu said since his arrest, his friend had switched off his phone.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the arrest, saying efforts were on to get Abbey. “The suspect has been transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for further investigations,” she added.