The axiom that everyday is for the thief, but one day is for the owner of the house played out yesterday when villagers in Umunakanu Community in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State caught up with a three-man gang of armed robbers tormenting the area and recovered stolen items from them.
The gang, operating on a motorcycle, had earlier shot its way into a brothel situated before Eke Umunakanu Market, where they dispossessed their unsuspecting victims of cash and other valuables at gun-point.
According to eyewitnesses, they thereafter stormed a petrol station at Oriendu and made away with the day’s proceeds.
Narrating his ordeal to our reporter, the owner of the petrol station, Hon. Kenneth Nwachukwu said hardly had he switched off the generating set after the day’s business than a motorcycle without lights drove into the station.
He said the rider and two other occupants on board requested to buy some fuel, “but I told him that we have closed for the day. I was however overwhelmed when they pulled their guns and pointed them at me. With that, they commanded me to cooperate with them and hand over the money in my custody or get shot”.
Nwachukwu added that the robbers ransacked him and collected all the money on him with his mobile phones.
He disclosed that it was his wife who saw what was going from a distance and ran out to raise the alarm that attracted the attention of youths and passers-by who promptly responded to her distressed call.
According to him, a man hunt ensued as the robbers quickly sped off. As they raced on, the villagers ran after them and gave them a run for their money.
The fleeing robbers were knocked down by one of the villagers with a motorbike.
Two of the robbers wielding guns escaped as they shot sporadically and scaring people away. However, the rider of the motorbike was not so lucky as he was overpowered and apprehended by the villagers who also recovered the loot from him. They gave him the beating of his life.
The suspect was about being lynched by the irate mob when some policemen and vigilante security operatives in the area intervened to rescue him.
It was gathered that the criminals hail from Okpofe community in Ezinihitte Local Government Area of the state.
Spokesman of the state police command, Mr. Andrew Enwerem could not be reached for more comments on the incident as at the time of filing this report
However, at the St. Vincent De Paul Hospital where the arrested the suspect was taken to for medical attention as a result of the beating by the mob, one of the intervening police officers they got the information about the raid on a brothel and were trailing the criminals when they also got the wind of fleeing robbers being pursued by villagers
He said in confidence that the suspect was already helping them in their investigation.