The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said car thieves have resorted to new tricks to steal cars from individuals and car dealers issuing stolen or dud cheques.

According to the commission, the public should be on the alert when transacting business with people they do not know.

In a statement on Monday, the anti-corruption body said it discovered this while investigating the petitions against one Babatunde Oni, also known as Olu Daniel.

Babatunde, who comes from Odo Eri, Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, was recently arrested by the Ibadan zonal office of the EFCC over alleged conspiracy, stealing and issuance of a dud cheque following a petition received from Mr Kamoru Yekini on November 21, 2018.

The petitioner had alleged that on October 16, 2018 Babatunde and another man approached him at his shop in Iwo, Osun State, to express interest in purchasing a 2006 Toyota Matrix he displayed for sale.

After negotiating the price, they agreed on N1,580,000.00, and a post-dated First Bank cheque was issued supposedly to cover the cost of the car.

According to the petitioner, Babatunde acted as the second suspect’s driver.

The other man falsely introduced himself as the account owner and a doctor at Bowen University, Iwo.

After agreeing on the price, he said Babatunde left the scene to ‘deposit’ the money and later came with a copy of the deposit slip as evidence of payment of the agreed sum.

Although the car dealer was not comfortable with the payment arrangement, he released the car, hoping that he would contact the ‘buyer’ on the telephone if there was any issue.

According to the EFCC, the following day he got a call from his bank that the cheque had been returned unpaid due to insufficient money.

Meanwhile, the EFCC recovered the car in Abuja where it was sold to a lady for N1.8m.

The commission later arrested Babatunde in his hideout in Abuja.

While Babatunde was in the custody of the EFCC, another complainant surfaced with a similar claim, saying on September 7, 2018, two men came to his filling station around Mokola, Ibadan, to negotiate the price of a 2007 Toyota Avensis car he displayed.

According to the commission, he alleged that after agreeing to buy the car for N2m, Babatunde issued a cheque.

Just as he did in the other case, Babatunde acted as the driver. He also took the cheque to bank to ‘deposit’ the money and came back with a deposit slip.

While they were testing the car, the car dealer told the suspects to hold on for him to confirm the status of the deposit from his account officer.

But, before he could do that the suspects zoomed off with the car since the car keys and papers had already been handed over to them.

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