Musicians Chinonso Michael, alias Authority, 25 years old, an afro hiphop singer; and Chimelu Victory, alias Apostle Swag, 22 years old, a pianist, were last week Wednesday at their home in No. 4, Modupe Young Thomas Estate, Ajah, Lagos metropolis, arrested in company of five other suspects by the Decoy Team of Rapid Response Squad, RRS. They are alleged to be involved in the act of sending fake alert to people and purchasing valuable goods through it. Chinonso and Chimelu had on the 10th of April 2020, ordered pay on delivery for an iPhone 11 Pro Max which is valued at ₦450,000 on Jiji.com, an online retailer/vendor platform, right from their home location in Ajah, paying through the fraudulent “fake alert” technique.
After receiving the iPhone 11 Pro Max from the despatch rider Anifowose Ìtùnú, Chimelu Victory, who is the “buyer”, generated a fake alert to Mr Anifowose, then connived with Chinonso to get friendly with the despatcher, even entertaining him with a bottle of beer while he (Chimelu) escaped from the vicinity.
Thereafter, the suspects sold same iPhone 11 Pro Max to someone in Ọgbà district of Ikeja at the sum of ₦350,000. The amount was wired into the bank account of Chinonso Michael.
Sighting the police coming through the front of their building, the suspects, halfnaked, jumped from the first floor of the building, to the ground and into the streets. Chinonso fractured his arm and had serious bruises on the chin, but still attempted to escape. He was immediately taken to the hospital and given treatment.
They confessed that it is the third time they sold iPhone 11 Pro Max during the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining that in those two previous incidents, they purchased the phones online with stolen credit cards.
The two entertainers pleaded for mercy, claiming that hunger and the resolve to survive during the lockdown, forced them into such robbery.
According to a press release by the Lagos Police Command, ‘In their confessions, Chinonso and Chimelo, who are regular performers in some Lagos night clubs separately attributed their actions to COVID 19 lockdown stressing that “during the lock down there was nothing going and we didn’t have anything to eat for like two – weeks.
We were already owing all the store owners in the neighbourhood. Nobody was ready to give us credit anymore. We had to device a means to survive the lock down”, they stated.
Chinonso, who just changed his stage name from Authority to Happy – Boy noted that he joined Chimelu at his Ajah residence in March, 2020 noted that he was his music teacher in Aba, Abia state before he moved to Lagos.
Chimelu, who is popularly called Apostle Swag recently resigned as a Lekki church keyboardist to pursuit a career in music, stated that he used to have regular shows in Lagos clubs before the lockdown.
He added that ‘the plan of a service charge apartment was to create the impression that they live there in the mind of the despatch rider.
The suspects confessed that apart from their musical careers, they also engage in internet fraud.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects include: one iPhone 11Pro Max, three laptops, two flash drives, two WiFi connection modems, two memory cards, four SIM cards, one Samsung phone and one iPhone.
The suspects have been transferred to SARS for further investigations and prosecution.
Commenting on the development, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu maintained that the internet is a fertile ground for opportunities but the State Command would not allow criminals use it as avenue to exploit legitimate business owners.””