Twenty-nine-year-old James Udobong, an Akwa Ibom State indigene turned to robbery after he was notpicked as part of the Nigerian National football team.
After training as hard as he could in 2003, Udobong found his way to Abuja, to participate in an Under-17 trial.Udobong was not picked. And so ended his hope of ever becoming a football star.
To survive, he was repairing phones at Wuse Market but soon, he could no longer pay his shop rent, according to claims.
Udobong said after he could no longer make ends meet, one of his friends suggested that he followed him to Transcorp Hilton and other five star hotels in Abuja, where they could target customers who were drunk in order to steal their phones.
“My friend also taught me how to place orders online for expensive mobile phones. We tell the dealers that we were buying the phones on behalf of a prominent politician lodged in any of the five-star hotels we choose to use.
“When the dealer makes delivery, we take him to a floor of the hotel and take the phones inside a door under the guise of delivering it to the politician but the dealer wouldn’t know that door leads through a staircase downstairs.
“Usually, after taking the phone, I jump inside a waiting taxi in the ground floor and leave the hotel. But in my last operation, I brought the dealer to Transcorp and asked him to wait outside the room in order to show the phone to my principal. I got into a lift and went to the ground floor. But I was arrested by waiting security men at the hotel.”
Udobong was handed over to the police who recovered all the phones he stole from the dealer – iPhone, Infinix Note, two tablets and two Samsung Galaxy phones.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the IRT had been trailing the suspect after several complaints by victims prompted the police to put hotels on alert.