A 37-year-old man, Ikechukwu Duru, who allegedly stole a phone valued at N48,000 belonging to a lawyer, James Etta, was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, Thursday.
The accused also used the stolen phone to withdraw N263,000 from the victim’s account and then sold the phone.
The defendant is facing a count charge of theft preferred against him by the Police.
The prosecutor, Sergeant Chinedu Njoku, told the court that the defendant committed the offence while the complainant was at a service of songs and prayer night in memory of a late member of the church.
He said the incident occurred at Our Saviour Anglican Communion Church located at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, on August 30.
Njoku added that the defendant had on August 30, at 6.30p.m., entered the church like other worshipers to attend the service of songs, but that “when the congregation closed their eyes during prayer, the defendant stole the phone and escaped from the church hall unknown to him that the CCTV cameras mounted inside the church had captured him.”
Njoku also said the defendant was arrested on September 3, when he went back to the church to steal another phone and the security men on duty recognised him and he was apprehended.
Following the incident, the church’s security men sent a distress call to the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Lion Building Division, Lagos Island, who deployed his team, led by Inspector Kolawole Afolaranmi, to the church to arrest the defendant.
Duru was charged with a one-count charge of stealing phone inside a church.
Njoku said the offence is punishable under Section 267 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
However, Duru pleaded not guilty.
Magistrate Folashade Botoku granted him N10,000 bail with one surety in like sum.
Botoku adjourned the case till October 3 for mention and ordered that the defendant be kept at the Ikoyi Prison, pending when he is able to perfect his bail conditions.
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