It was a bad day in the office for a 30-year-old man, Eyo Effiom, who was caught by residents of Edgerton/John Stone area of Calabar South, Cross River State, when he went to vandalise a transformer and steal electric cables at about 2am on Monday, March 30, 2015, as he was beaten to a pulp.
The culprit who confessed to the crime, said he had been in the business for a while and had a ready buyer in an Alhaji based in the town.
“I have been alone in this venture since the beginning of 2015. They have arrested almost all my fellow gang members.
When I steal the cable, I have an Alhaji at Bogobiri who comes with his vehicle as early as 3am to carry the items and pay me cash.”
An eyewitness reported that Effiom had been vandalising transformers in the locality for more than two years and was caught in the act while trying to remove the armoured cable.
“We knew he was the one because we chased him from a transformer he was trying to vandalise sometime last month, but he escaped.
Immediately I saw him again, I recognised him and alerted my colleagues and we arrested him.”
A community leader in the area, Chief Mike Ekpo, said the vandal had forced the residents to spend thousands of naira on protection of transformers.
“We are really surprised because Effiom lives in this neighborhood. His house is on John Stone Street. We have had to replace stolen transformer components two times this month (March).
The armoured cable he tried to steal costs N60, 000. We are glad that a vigilance group set up to check these criminals and today we have caught the thief.“
The hapless thief was handed over to the police.