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Two men, Stanley Odachi, 27 and Chuks Oragwu, 31, have been arrested for allegedly stealing phones and valuables from some unsuspecting ladies, after luring them to hotels with fake modelling jobs.
The suspects were arrested by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Ikeja, Lagos State Police Command on Wednesday while they were luring another victim to a hotel in Igando, Alimosho, Lagos.
The Police said: “The suspects used to pose on social media as agents’ recruiting models. But the fact is that they used the gimmick to lure young models to hotels and bars and dispossess them of money and personal belongings. As at the time of their arrest on Wednesday, about five girls have registered complaints with RRS. The victims stated that the suspects absconded with their mobile phones and money under the pretext of registering them for modelling jobs. At least four other models refused to press charges. Two other victims stated that they were having an examination in school and couldn’t make formal complaints.”
All the victims, however, stated that they encountered the suspects on Instagram through advertisements on their handles requesting young models to enlist for a modelling contract.
The victims explained that the suspects asked them to report at hotels, where they were made to surrender their mobile phones, which the suspects escaped with.
One of the victims, who wish to be addressed as Betty, explained that she saw an advertisement on benitamodellers, an Instagram handle managed by Oragwu, requesting for models to register with them for a contract.
Betty recounted: “I sent a friend request to him and we got chatting. Eventually, my friend and I were asked to show up at a shopping complex opposite the International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos – Badagry Expressway. We were four girls in attendance. The one called Chuks conned us into surrendering our mobile phones after making us to fill a form and our measurement taken. He took pictures of each of us with our phones. He told us he was taking the photos to his boss upstairs. That was the last time we saw him.”
Another victim, an undergraduate of a prominent private university based in Ibadan, who could not visit Lagos because of her classes stated: “Aside from my iPhone, the two suspects, who acted as manager and personal assistant collected N50,000 from me when I visited them at a hotel in Igando, Lagos.”
The alleged leader of the syndicate, Odachi, said: “I opened an Instagram account bold and beautiful sometime in 2018 to attract young models. I created an advertisement on its setting age limits. With time, I started receiving a friendship request from young models seeking contracts.”
He further stated: “I engaged them through the handle. I gave them my phone contact and we would arrange meetings with them. I used big shopping complexes, bars and restaurants and hotels as our venues. Most of our venues are around Ojo, Igando and Ajegunle. When the victims are gathered, we made them fill forms. We measure them and persuade them into surrendering their phones for us to take their pictures so that we can show our bosses. At times, we may be unlucky that some of them would decline to release their mobile phones for us. Our targets are their mobile phones. For those that would release, we take it upstairs and from there we flee. When my Instagram handle was blocked, I teamed up with Chuks, who acted as my Personal Assistant whenever it was my deal. We interchanged roles whenever it was his job. He has his own Instagram handle, benitamodellers, which has not been blocked. We sell our phone to Emeka Mmegwa, who sell them to people at the Alaba International Market. We don’t normally request for money except on few instances.” (New Telegraph)
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