Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Owerri the Imo State Capital has in the last few weeks witnessed increasing cases of car theft.
According to reports, car thieves have been on the rise with several incidents around the Ikenegbu Axis of the town.
Last week Wednesday, a customer of one the legacy banks located along Ikenegbu Layout was fortunate to meet his car with a damaged door handle.
The car was at the parking lot of the bank around the ever-busy Ikenegbu Area, while the customer transacted business. The shocked car owner alerted the bank security who inspected the vehicle as the two made further effort to ascertain how the car door got damaged.
Another car owner, who would prefer to be identified by his first name, Mr. Onyemaeche was not as fortunate last week as criminals made away with his Toyota Camry, commonly called Big-for-nothing, at the crowded Relief Market, far end of Ikenegbu Extension.
Mr. Onyemanche, a furniture maker recounted that barely 11 minutes he stepped away from the vehicle to buy wares at the market. On return, he searched it to no avail, confused to realize his car was missing.
Earlier before these incidents, a lone-ranger car thief was not as successful. He was nabbed attempting to steal a black Honda SUV left by an absent owner at one of the banks along Mbari Street.
The middle aged man was caught after a hot chase by bystanders, who cut short his plot to displace the Honda CR-V.
He was handed over to security agents attached to the financial services institution. On enquiry, one staff of the bank said the nabbed suspect was handed to the police for further interrogation.
Responding to the spate of car theft, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Enwerem, in a telephone interview, admitted the rising risk of car theft in the state, adding that the force is doing everything within its capacity to check al forms of criminality in the state.
The police spokesman advised motorists and car owners to take precautionary measures to avoid falling victim to men of easy means. He encouraged the use of car tracking technology and other devices to safeguard vehicles.
Other safety measures include parking cars where activities around it would be observed, the security chief added.
DSP Enwerem urged victims of car theft to monitor publications of police activities, as according to him, the force regularly recovers stolen car across the country which is returned to the owners after verifications.