The Rivers State Police Command has arrested five notorious members of a car-snatching syndicate.
The suspects were said to be responsible for the theft of most of the vehicles stolen at gunpoint in Port Harcourt, the state capital, and its environs.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Zaki Ahmed, said the hoodlums were arrested following a tip-off from well-meaning Nigerians, adding that four Hummer buses and two Hilux vans were recovered from them.
Ahmed identified the suspects as Barisuka Bira, Smart, Sunny Agbo, Ignatius Ogbenu and Adamu Yunusa, who received and paid for Hummer buses and other vehicles stolen by the others.
The CP pointed out that the suspects had since confessed to the crime, adding that the leader of the gang, Barisuka Biira, had earlier led the police to apprehend his cohorts.
“Men of the IGP Monitoring Unit, while acting on credible information, burst a gang of car-snatching syndicate that specialises in snatching cars in Port Harcourt and its environs.
“Following a tip-off, the team arrested one Barisuka Biira,aka JJ, 32 years old, who is the leader of the gang.
“Biira, on interrogation, confessed and led the police to where the others were arrested.
“One of the gang members, Ignatius Ogbenu, aka IG, and other members of the syndicate were arrested at Obinze in Owerri, Imo State.
“Their further confession led the police to Lagos where four Hummer buses and two Hilux vans were recovered.
“They are still helping us in our investigation as efforts are at advanced stage to recover more snatched vehicles and their operational weapons,” Ahmed said.
Also paraded was a notorious kidnapper, Chimeze Nwagwu, aka Gasak, who was arrested after a shootout with the police in the kidnappers’ hideout at Royal Park Estate, Eneka, Port Harcourt.
The CP explained that a member of the gang, identified as Casmir Nwagwu, was killed in the crossfire, adding that one of the fleeing suspects, Morgan Alex, was later arrested after another round of gun battle with the hoodlums in Imo State.
“Exhibit recovered from them are three English pump-action gun, one SMG riffle, one Jericho pistol, 63 rounds of live ammunition, 16 rounds of 9mm, 12 rounds of 7.62mm.
“Investigation is ongoing as the suspect (Morgan Alex) is still making useful confession and efforts are on to arrest other members of the dreaded gang,” he added.
He also paraded five other suspects, who specialised in sending fake bank alert to unsuspecting traders, adding that Plasma television sets were recovered from them.
Ahmed, however, appealed to businessmen and women to always confirm from their bank if money had been transferred before they release their goods to any buyer who decided to pay through money transfer.