The Operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command, have apprehended an 18 -year-old boy, Segun Adeyefa, for allegedly selling bar of soap as mobile phones to unsuspecting members of public in traffic.
The suspect was arrested by the RRS men on routine patrol of Ikorodu Motor Park yesterday at about 19:50 hrs, while trying to defraud a young man at the motor park.
Upon his arrival at RRS’s Headquarters, the suspect confessed that before he was caught on Tuesday, he had duped one person of N3,500 who wanted to buy the phone.
He noted that he was lured into the fraud after he was duped through a similar means about a year ago.
“My action was prompted when I was swindled by two guys about a year ago by this way. I had intention of buying a phone but unknowingly to me it was a cut-to-size bar of soap just looked similar to a phone shape.
The two guys approached me on my way to work, then, I was learning a plumbing work somewhere around Ikorodu.
I bought the phone which was advertised to me as ‘London used phone’ for N2, 500.
As I left the place, I checked the phone I bought, to my surprise, I discovered it was a soap I bought for such amount.
That very moment I promised myself to revenge by doing same to the people”, he revealed.
Explaining how he mastered the tactics to swindle unsuspecting members of public through that means, he said “after I discovered that it was a cut-to-size soap I bought as phone, I learnt that tactics by understudying the material.
The item contained cut-to-size soap, carton and wrapped all together with a cello tape”.
The suspect who lived at 81, Oriwu Road, Ikorodu, Lagos State, further revealed how he perpetuated the fraud under the false pretence of selling a genuine phone.
"What I usually do is called exchange. My prospective victims will have the mind of buying handset from me but unknowingly to them I would have changed the real handset to soap wrapped with cut to size carton put inside an envelope.
I will engage them in discussion after showing them real phone initially, and in the process of bargaining for the price, I will change it with the aid of white handkerchief to fake phone.
And, I will tell them to keep the phone inside their pockets immediately that people are watching us. As soon as the buyer left the spot, I will immediately change my location by moving to another place".
The suspect further stated that the demise of his master who was teaching him plumbing work, also led to his criminal act.
While confirming the arrest, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police, SP Dolapo Badmus, warned the general public to be weary of individuals who approach them to buy phones on highways in order not to fall victim of conmen.
Items such as fake phones, key soap cut to size, shirts, some amount of money, packet of envelopes and cut to size cartons were recovered from him.
The suspect has been transferred to Lagos State Task Force on Environment for prosecution.