The Lagos State Police Command is on the trail of a suspected thief, who allegedly disguised as an invited guest to steal at a wedding in the state.
The incident happened on Saturday at Event Gallery, along Igando Road, Ojo area of the state, where the wedding held.
Clad in a white dress worn by the groom’s friends and relatives, the fleeing suspect was captured on camera as he picked wads of cash dished out to the groom, Afeez Adekoya, who was immersed in dancing.
It was gathered that the church service was on when he disappeared with a large sum of cash spent for Adekoya as well as the groom’s gold wristwatch.
He also reportedly carted away the phone of the best man under false pretences of safekeeping it.
His third victim, our correspondent learnt, was the bride’s best friend, whose Samsung phone the suspect collected on the pretext that he wanted to transfer some pictures she took at the event into his phone.
Adekoya, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday, said he was under pressure that day because the event started late.
He said it occurred to him that the suspect was a stranger, but he thought he came with one of “my friends.”
He said, “The engagement time was supposed to be 8am while the church service was supposed to start at 11am. As a result of some delay, the engagement started late and there was pressure on us to finish it on time so that the church service could commence.
“While we were hurrying to go for the engagement, he (the suspect) mingled with my friends. My wife and I were busy. I saw him and four of my friends collecting money. I was expecting my best man to gather all the money together, not knowing that all of them had given the money to him. They all thought the man was my friend they did not know or a family member.
“He (the suspect) came to me with a polythene bag containing N6,000. The money spent for me was really much more than that, but because of the pressure, I was not able to question him. It was already after 12pm. He followed me to where I changed my dress for the church service.
“He collected my gold wristwatch because I did not want to use it for the church service. He also collected my dress and kept it in my suitcase, which a friend later collected from him.”
Adekoya explained that the suspect subsequently followed his best man to a room, where the friend wore another dress for the church service.
The groom said the suspect collected the dress from the best man and took it to his (best man’s) wife, who was in a car, telling her that her husband directed him to collect his phone.
“After collecting the Samsung phone, which is worth N130,000, the suspect approached the bride’s best friend and told her that she had a lot of his pictures on her phone and that she should give him the phone to transfer the pictures to his phone.
“The lady was also under pressure, attending to our guests from Sagamu (Ogun State). She thought the man was my family member and gave him her phone. It was during the church service that we discovered that he had disappeared with the items,” Adekoya added.
He said he reported the case at the Iba Police Station, adding that the police promised to track down the suspect.
The bride, Abiola Folorunsho, said she initially had an impression that something was amiss with the suspect’s gesture, but she felt it would be insulting to ask for his details.
She said, “I was really angry that day. The man approached me inside a car I was and tried to pacify me. He was even trying to fan me. At that point, I wanted to ask my husband’s younger brother who he was, but I felt it would be insulting to ask such a question in his presence.
“The man gave me a handkerchief to clean my face and tried to get me food. I did not use the handkerchief because I had never seen him before. I saw him among the groom’s friends dancing. He was calling my husband ‘Egbon’ (brother) and I concluded he was my husband’s family member.
“He was everywhere, taking pictures and nobody suspected he was not invited or he had an ulterior motive. I think he banked on the pressure on us. It was our photographer who took his picture while he was dancing.”
Folorunsho stated her friend’s phone stolen by the suspect contained the soft copy of her thesis, adding that she had no backup for the work.
“She is studying for her master’s degree at University of Lagos. A day before the wedding, she tried to do the backup on her Gmail account to no avail. She was weeping when she discovered the man had fled with the phone. I was destabilised too,” she added.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, confirmed that the case was reported to the police, adding that investigation had commenced.