Edo police arrest alleged prepaid meters thief
Operatives of Edo State Police Command have arrested one Austine Ekhigiator, 33, for allegedly stealing four prepaid meters in Azagba community, Uhumwode Local Council of the state.
The Guardian learnt that the suspect, who resides at No 4, Erediawa Street, Sapele road, Benin, was apprehended at Egba Divisional Police Headquarters.
Ekhigiator, allegedly stole Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) meters installed on electric poles in the area alongside three accomplices, now at large.
It took the effort of the community members to arrest the suspect, who later handed him over to the police.
Chief Security Officer of BEDC, Gilbert Nweke said the arrested suspect was not a staff of the company.
He said: “The suspect worked with the contractor engaged by the Federal Government to install its National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) in Edo.
“His luck ran out and he was apprehended. They sent a message to us and we came. He has confessed to doing the illegal acts. So, we took him and handed him over to the police.
“His accomplices who are on the run will be tracked by the long arm of the law. We want to appeal to the public to be very alert to when people come around that they want to repair their meters, usually they end up stealing the meters.”
A victim, Mrs Gladys Evbodaghe said the suspect came to her house in company of two men to repair her meter, unknown to her that they had removed the meter from the box.
She said: “The suspects and his accomplices are always coming in the guise of wanting to correct errors on the meter pretending to be BEDC staff.
“They will climb the pole, remove the meter, put it in their bag and cover it back and later tell the owner that it had been repaired.
“I reported the matter at Egba police station. Some members of the Egba community arrested one of the suspects that stole my meter and they handed him over to the police.
“I want my meter back because I do not want estimated billing.”
A police officer at Egba police station, who confirmed the arrest, said they are on the trail of other suspects, now at large.