Enugu residents raise alarm over ‘rising cases of car theft, vandalism’

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Fear grips residents of Enugu metropolis as cases of car theft seem to be on the increase, with three journalists becoming the latest victims. The most affected areas are New Layout, Emene, Uwani, Achara Layout, Abakpa, Ngwo and GRA. The seeming upsurge in robbery cases involving the theft of cars and their accessories has contributed to tension in the metropolis. Easterner gathered that car theft, carjacking and vandalism have been going on since after the 2020 lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, which paralysed business activities and led to job losses. The most recent victims of car theft in the city include three journalists – two employees of Radio Nigeria, Von Nwadukwe and Denis Osabeme; and Eucharia Ugwu, who works for Nigeria Television Authority. Another victim is an executive member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. While Von Nwadukwe’s Toyota Camry was stolen on Monday night from where it was parked in front of a bar in Enugu GRA, that of the APC executive member was stolen while he was attending a party meeting. Eucharia and Denis’ cars were stolen at their residences in Emene and Ngwo respectively.
Those who stole Denis’ car went there with a car battery as he was said to have formed the habit of removing his car battery before going to bed. He was said to have removed his car battery again before going to bed, only to find the car stolen the following morning with his battery lounging in the corner of the room where he had left it the previous night. Another victim, who usually removed her car battery before going to bed, was said to have also woken up in the morning to find her car gone.
The robbers were said to have come to the street with their own battery, with which they drove the vehicle away. In the New Layout and Uwani areas of the state capital, vehicles parked on hitherto safe streets were vandalised with their front and back lamps, side mirrors, and interior fittings carted away by robbers. The situation, it was learned, had forced residents to seek alternative measures to keep their vehicles safe. Our correspondent gathered that a formal report has been made to the police by some of the victims, who urged the public to be on the lookout for the stolen cars.
In a statement he gave to the police, Nwadukwe described his car as “an army green Toyota Camry with number plate ENU 718 GL. It has a Radio Nigeria sticker on the windscreen.”
Another victim, Charles Nwobodo whose car was vandalised at Adelabu Street in Uwani, said, “I brought my car, Lexus RX 330 for the mechanic to fix its fault. He told me after working on it to come and carry it or he should bring it to my house. But I was not around. I told him I would return in two days’ time.
“Before I could return from my trip, I saw my car looking like a skeleton. Almost everything has been removed from the vehicle. I became confused. I never expected that such a thing would happen to a vehicle like this.”
Easterner’ efforts to get the reaction of the state police command were fruitless as the command’s spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe could not be reached as his phone indicated it was switched off.

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