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Man steals two bags of rice from Lagos shop, uses a boy as collateral

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The owner of a retail store in the Olowora area of Lagos State, Olabisi Opeyemi, is suffering from the loss inflicted by a thief who disguised himself as a customer to steal two bags of rice from her shop.

The suspect, who is still at large, went to the shop on Thursday with two boys aged 15 and 18 to purchase two 50-kg bags of rice.

A report claims he made Opeyemi’s sister, Alima, believe that the boys were his brothers and that their mother also had a shop nearby.

He reportedly left the boys behind and rode away with the staple on a motorcycle, promising that he would return soon to pay.

After he didn’t return several minutes later, one of the boys went looking for him. Alima raised the alarm after the other boy, a resident of the area, wanted to leave.

The teenager told her he didn’t know the man and was only asked to help carry a load at the shop, and she realized she had been defrauded.

Since the boy who went in search of the suspect did not return to the shop, it could not be determined whether he was also ‘collateral’.

The victim said she was devastated by the loss, adding that her capital had been depleted due to the theft.

In her account, she said she didn’t notify the police because she knew the boy’s poor mother, who begged her to put the incident behind her.

She stated, “I was not at the shop when the incident occurred. I took ill and decided to rest at home. It was my sister who was at the shop. She called me on the phone and asked for the price of a bag of rice, and I told her. She said it was a customer who requested the price.

“She didn’t get back to me to inform me that the person wanted to go with the goods. It was later when she realised she had been defrauded that she called me.

She said the man went away with two bags of rice and told her that the man said she should give him some minutes to collect money from his mother at a nearby shop.

“She was deceived that those boys were the man’s brothers. He asked them to wait for him and left with two 50kgs of foreign rice worth N60,000. We later realised that he met one of the boys on the street and asked him to assist him in carrying a load at our shop.

The boy’s mother came yesterday (Thursday), and she was begging. I had to let go even though it was a huge loss to me.”

Alima explained that the man initially arrived with the unknown boy on a bicycle to inquire about the price of a bag of rice.

She stated that he left after getting the price and returned shortly after with the boy who lives in the community.

Alima said, “The man sat inside the shop and called a woman on the phone in my presence. I could hear the woman’s voice. She asked him if the two bags were long-grain rice. He told her one was short-grain while the other was long grain.

“The woman told him to buy it. He then called an okada rider and asked the two boys to bring out the bags of rice. While he was going away with the rice, he said, ‘my brothers, wait, let me collect money from our mum’s shop.’

“After a while, I began to wonder why it was taking him too long to return. I asked the boys where their brother was, but they said they didn’t know him. The boy he first came with mounted the bicycle and went to look for him.

The other boy, who I later knew lives around here, was about to leave when I dragged him back. He said the man met him on the street and asked that he help him to carry something in the shop.”

Some residents suggested that Alima was probably hypnotized by the man.

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