A 25-year-old arrested car thief suspect, Meshach Isinugo a.k.a Big Shark, has denied the allegation of stealing a Mercedes Benz from a car dealer, saying that he only drove the car from Abuja to Delta State.
A car dealer, Mohammed Manga reported that a customer, Henry, absconded with one of his cars, a Mercedes Benz GLB 250 vehicle worth over N55m in the Abuja area of the Federal Capital Territory during a test drive.
Big Shark said he decided to quickly use the car when the dealer, who sat in the passenger seat during test driving, didn’t return quickly after stepping out for cash withdrawal to buy fuel in a filling station, Nigerian Tribune reported on Tuesday.
The state Commissioner of Police, Wale Abass, at a press briefing, said that before the suspect’s arrest, the command received a complaint from a car dealer in Abuja, simply identified as Rilwan, on July 3 that a vehicle, a Mercedes Benz saloon car 2021 model, was stolen from his car stand by Big Shark who disguised as an intending buyer. The dealer told the police that the suspect absconded with the said vehicle during a test drive on June 30.
“Armed with available intelligence, operatives of the CP Decoy Squad stormed Ughelli town at about 0115hours (1:15 am) of 3/7/2023 and recovered the said Mercedes Benz abandoned in a bush along Oteri Road by Doctors Quarters Ughelli North Local Government Area,” the CP said.
The suspect, who gave a bit of his background said that Big Shark was a childhood nickname that he grew up with.
Big Shark said, “I’m from Ughelli in Delta State, but I live in Abuja. I’m into foreign exchange and bureau de change business. I have been doing this since when I was seven. I started along that line when I was in secondary school. My business is at Istanbul Airport, Turkey, so I used to shuttle between there and Nigeria. I started it there in 2021. I returned from Istanbul in May after the general elections.
“I was arrested on July 6 for car theft after I was tracked by the police. Actually, I moved the car, from Abuja to Delta State.
“I didn’t steal the car, but it was not mine. What happened was that I got the owner’s contact from an online platform (name withheld). He posted the car’s picture on the platform, putting it up for sale. When I called him to indicate an interest, he told me to come for the car inspection. He was also Abuja-based and the location he invited me to was at Garki.
“I saw the car, and the intending seller put the price at N58 million. I offered to pay N30 million and he said I should test-drive it so that I would know the value of what I was pricing. He gave me the car key and sat on the passenger seat.
“When we got to a filling station, he asked me to pull over as he needed to buy fuel for the car. He told me to wait so that he would go and get some cash to buy the fuel. I waited for his return for three hours but he was nowhere to be found, and I was already causing a queue at the filling station. I called his line several times but it was switched off. It was already dusk so I drove to my residence at almost 8 pm. My phone had gone flat then, so I charged it when I got home and called him again. His line was switched off.
“The following day, I drove down to Delta for a business. That same day, I saw my picture that he posted on the internet, calling me a car thief. His call also came in and he told me he had informed the police and they were tracking the car. This made me to be mad at him. It was crazy. I switched off my line known to him and started using my other line.
“My uncle saw me with the car and he asked me about it. I told him how the car came by and he got mad and slapped me. He said he would not allow me to drive the car but would report it at a police station. I ran from him because he assaulted me. I was eventually arrested in Benin, Edo State. I didn’t steal the car, I only drove it from Abuja to Delta. If I were the car dealer, I would just look for a way to get the car back. That would work.”
According to the police, the suspect has been transferred to Abuja where the act was perpetrated.