Moses Edwin, a self-acclaimed prophet in one of the orthodox churches in Lagos State,has been arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad for allegedly stealing $500.
The 50-year-old, who also operated as a bureau de change agent, was said to have connived with some other suspects to steal the sum from a National Youth Service Corps member, Adebayo Lookman.
Lookman was said to have approached Edwin in the Ikeja area of the state, seeking to exchange $5,000 belonging to his mother, for naira.
The suspect was said to have tricked the victim into releasing the dollars to another gang member, Daniel Ebhohimen, who he claimed would confirm if the money was complete.
While Eghohimen was counting the $100 notes, another member of the gang allegedly distracted the victim, who was monitoring the process.
Eghohimen was said to have slipped five notes from the money.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the transaction was scuttled after a disagreement between the parties on the exchange rates.
Before Lookman could realise what had happened, the suspects had allegedly fled the scene.
The victim, in his statement to the police, said Edwin had initially promised to convert the money at an exchange rate of N387 to a dollar.
He said, “When I got to a hotel around the Ikeja area, I met the men who said they were bureau de change operators. After negotiating back and forth, they offered to exchange the $5,000 at the rate of N387 to a dollar.
“They took my details and said the transaction would be done online. Edwin requested that I surrender the $5,000 for confirmation.
“Reluctantly, I released the money. But I was monitoring and counting along with them in my car. Midway into the counting, another member of the gang distracted me from the driver’s side. Thereafter, they handed back the money to me, saying that it was complete and we headed for one of the banks in the Opebi area.“All along, they prevented me from counting the money. At the bank, they told me the rate they gave me was no longer possible and that they were backing out of the deal; but I offered a renegotiation.
“I told them to excuse me and went into a toilet to confirm the money. I counted it and discovered that $500 was missing. Before I could come out, they had run away. A security guard told me he saw them rushing out of the bank.”
He said he went to where he met the suspects and discovered they had disappeared.
Lookman said he, however, sighted Edwin around the area three days later and alerted the police, who arrested him.
According to the police, Edwin confessed to the crime, adding that he got N10,000 from the theft.
He allegedly denied following the gang to the bank, saying he only asked them to “finish up the transaction.”
The suspect reportedly begged for an amicable settlement of the case, promising to refund the $500.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, confirmed the incident.
He said the suspects had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, for further investigations.