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It’s an insult to call us pick-pockets. We are ‘Ground Forces

Posted by By Christopher Oji on 2005/10/14 | Views: 317 |

It’s an insult to call us pick-pockets. We are ‘Ground Forces

A pick-pocket held by the police in Lagos has revealed the secrets of his "trade" as he promised to repent and join the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Mission.

A pick-pocket held by the police in Lagos has revealed the secrets of his "trade" as he promised to repent and join the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Mission.

Robert Patrick, 26, being detained by policemen in Apapa, said: "In our realms, we know ourselves. We meet and discuss our business. We belonged to what we tagged ‘Ground Force’ because we use legs and we don’t kill, harm or hurt our victims. We are gentle guys. We are ground forces, so we don’t know why people call us pick-pockets. It is an insult. "

He also revealed that it was not easy to leave ground force business because "it is a sweet job without much risk or threat to anybody, least of all the victims. All you do is just reach into somebody’s pocket and you collect money, handset or other valuable things and you quietly go home and sleep.

The following morning, you just pray to God and go out in search of another mugu.

“We carry no dangerous weapon but the knack to distinguish heavyweight pockets from mere shakaras among the commuters. I call them shakaras because some of them will dress impressively without as much as N2,000 in their pockets. Such ones are useless. We don’t pray for such useless victims. I pray for luck every time before I leave home so that I can get huge amount of money or expensive handset that I can pawn for money."

Dramatizing how he picked pockets, he said, "It is not magic, it is just wisdom and being observant. If I sit in the same bus with a mugu, I will just cough or sneeze to discomfort the mugu (victim). You know that people do not like another person to cough or sneeze into their mouth. As I am coughing and sneezing, the mugu would remove his face and his concentration would be on how to avoid infection from the bout of cough and sneeze, thereby his consciousness has been destabilized. In a jiffy, I have collected all there is to collect and I drop at the next bus stop."

Chukwudi disclosed that the most arduous task in ‘Ground Force’ was picking people’s front pocket, adding, "this could only be done by perfect professionals like me. A master professional taught me this trade. His name is Lekan but he died last year of hernia. Brother, that guy was just too good. He was an enforcer with a difference.

"If we target a mugu at the bus stop and the mugu refused to board the bus, we still could pick his pocket. I would be following the victim while Lekan will be coming towards us, as we get closer to each other, I will just step on the mugu’s leg and he would be destabilized and lose concentration. In a jiffy, Lekan would quickly pick his pocket and we disperse immediately."

Giving an insight into how he started life of crime, he said, "I was a casual worker in a Chinese firm. I was receiving N260 a day but the company folded up. At a smoking joint where I had gone to console myself, I met Lekan. He asked what I was doing and I told him my predicament. He told me to join him in picking pockets. I was reluctant at first but he told me to pray that God would give me the strength. I prayed and God took control, so that was how I joined the force."

Patrick, who was remorseful said that Ground Force had its own bitter side, which he disclosed thus: "On many occasions, I have been caught and beaten to a state of coma. See these ugly marks on my head, it was some of the results of my misadventures in crime. But my brother, it is not easy to leave the job. Only God can help you to leave it."

He said that he needed salvation to come out of the ignoble trade, adding, "I was attending church, but each time I prayed, my conscience would be judging me. God has warned me severally but this is my final bus stop. I am finished with this bad job. I want men of God to pray for me to come out of this bondage.”

However, the Area Commander, Mr. Femi Oyeleye said that the suspect would be charged to court, adding, "my area would soon be cleared of these criminals. They are like fleas to commuters and they constitute an undesired nuisance to the society." He warned pick-pockets to run away from Apapa or they’ll see hell. "We have mounted surveillance on them because crime is crime and we don’t condone any infinitessimal crime."

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