Man narrates his ordeal at Shoprite Enugu where he was robbed,cautions shoppers

A Facebook user by the name Jimmy Gentle,took to the social networking platform to share his bitter experience at Shoprite Enugu where robbers broke into his car and made away with his money.

“I was robbed of N412,000 cash at Shoprite Nigeria Enugu mall on Wednesday, and THEY HAVE NO CCTV!!!

I had gone to a branch of UBA Group at WAEC bus stop, Independence Layout, Enugu to make the cash withdrawal.

I collected the cash in a black nylon bag offered by the bank, locked it in my car’s glove compartment, and drove to Shoprite. I parked, locked, and walked into the mall.
An intact Toyota Camry 2011 is not porous and I trusted the environment. No soul knew I went to withdraw such cash either. I was at peace, worried less, and considered no ill-luck.

When I came out, I suspected nothing and so I simply started the car to leave. But hey, the glovebox was dangling. And I was sure I locked it. A little revving and the glovie fell off. Then I saw it has been tampered with, forcefully pulled out. The key has been damaged that my own key cannot go in again. The money was gone!!!

Shocked, mouth agape, I repacked and struggled in wonderment to figure out what was playing out. How could anyone other than an expert have broken into my car?
I came down to inspect the doors and saw that the key was forced open, obviously with a master key or whatever was the criminal’s tool.

How possible? In Shoprite of all places? Isn’t that supposed to be one of the most secure places? With all the security guards parading the arena?
Pertinent to note is that my car is remote-controlled and would always let out a very loud alarm whenever a key is inserted to unlock it. And no security guard looked in that direction until it was forced open?

Ok. I approached one of the entrance posts and presented my case to a mobile policeman who called in a security supervisor. He came and asked that I took him to the spot I packed. There he collected my time of arrival, name, phone number, and other details and asked that I wait while he went to look up the CCTV footage.

Over 30 minutes this guy didn’t return. The Mopol kept calling his number and it never connected again. He gave me the number to try and no luck. Fine, he called another supervisor who also came and then disappeared, and the number too stopped going through. So we learned that they must have been ordered to excuse themselves from the matter.

I went home to attend to an urgent issue and returned thereafter. I asked the policeman if there was any result and he said none of those guys were seen again. Seeing the frustration and anger building upon my face, he decided to take me to the head of the security outfit. Oga CSO came out and told me that “look, this could have happened elsewhere and probably not in Shoprite”.
But sir, I didn’t stop anywhere, I moved straight to Shoprite. It happened here!
I made him understand that I was not trying to hold anyone responsible. I was not accusing anyone. I must have been followed from the bank.

I was only interested in getting footage that hopefully would be cleaned to reveal the ID of the culprit. With that, the Complaint Response Unit – CRU, Nigeria Police Force would investigate and apprehend him. I don’t want any other unsuspecting member of the public to be robbed that way. It is possible that this is the daily job of the robber or gang and they would certainly return to the bank another day.
Then oga CSO said that “the camera covering that area is bad and has not been working”. Wow. I left. It was already past 8pm. They only succeeded at wasting my time from 3 pm.

On Thursday, I went back to Shoprite and demanded to see the Facility or Center Manager. After narrating my ordeal she felt bad and angry that someone said their camera doesn’t work. She called in the head of the CCTV unit (he was already aware of the case) and asked him to look into the matter again. Oga asked that I should go and show him the spot again and the time of arrival which I did. Then he went inside, wasted some time, and came out to say that “there is a camera over there but captured only the bunnet of the car and not the whole body so the culprit was not captured on the act”.

Ha, oga I didn’t pack in a hidden place now. That was a central place. Why would you capture only my bunnet?

“Sorry sir, we are working on installing cameras around that area”. I shook my head.

I could tell that the Center Manager was short of words too, so I thanked her and left, defeated.
And the viper continues prowling the streets, tracking and robbing innocent people of their hard-earned cash.

And how bad to know that Shoprite CCTVs are just for decoration purposes. My car could have been stolen too. And no CCTV in Shoprite!!! In a working system, I could sue for having bad cameras. That’s deception. Even if cars are parked at the owner’s risk, at least you should help investigations with CCTV footage. These are your customers and you should not just be after their money alone.
But no, they’d all echo, “Ehya, so sorry”. Cancelled.

Meanwhile, I got to hear testimonies of the notoriety of this particular bank branch (UBA, WAEC bus-stop).

From about four stories I heard, thieves always followed customers from this branch and robbed them, and it is said that they have informants among the bankers. From the time you pack anywhere, it doesn’t take them up to 10 minutes to gain access to your car and steal from you.

One collected N1.5 million and packed briefly somewhere, the car was burgled and the money stolen.
Another collected N3 million, they followed him to Ntachi Osa, New Haven where he entered briefly to get take-away food. The car got burgled and the money was gone before he came out.

Yet another, still from this same branch, collected N6 and was followed. He was lucky to notice that a particular Sienna has been following him for a long time. He enters the streets and they followed, he turns back and they followed. He called some friends who told him to come to a bar where they drank. He was followed there. He packed and entered inside the bar, staying very observant. In five minutes the Sienna was positioned on standby while one person was quickly forcing a key into the car. The owner jumped out with friends and the thieves quickly zoomed off.

I’m not sharing this experience to gain pity but to keep these rogues out. Creating awareness about this evil modus operandi is my little contribution towards safeguarding your fund. As far as there is life, If I lose money I go make am again, and again and again.
Just be very careful whenever you collect cash from any bank. Not everyone you see at the banking premises came to collect their own money. 90% of the time you could be followed, depending on the amount withdrawn or the kind of package they see you leave the banking hall with. Be observant and check if a particular vehicle or strange person is following you. Make some turns just to be sure.

There is a theory that if you make four turns then you are completing a circle from your original starting point. If the person/car is still behind you after you have made a circle, you are most likely being followed. Don’t go straight to your house as they could track you down even on another day. Don’t enter a lonely road either, they could accost you and may harm you as some of them roam around armed. Stop and report to either a police checkpoint, station, or any public place where you can get quick assistance.

If you park anywhere, check back in 5 -10 minutes to see if anyone is breaking into your car. They quickly act in the first 5/10 minutes after you pack. Smartly observe if anybody is following or trying to initiate unnecessary conversation. That person could be one of them sent to keep you busy with distraction while their colleague operates.
As one of the sacrificial lambs, I’m here now telling you that your belongings are not safe in Shoprite in particular or any other place in this country. Let it not happen to you.

This is how terrible the streets have become. They are everywhere.
Banditry, Kidnapping, BH, Hersmen, Robbery. Just too much for one country.
And my mind says, Jimmy, you don’t belong here

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Written by Andrew Odoe
Serial Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, Social Activist and Writer.
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