C/R: ‘Office of President’ vehicle caught in robbery operation

Three persons are in the grips of the Assin North district police in the Central region for allegedly stealing telecommunication appliances with a vehicle allegedly belonging to the Office of the President.

The three (names withheld)  aged between 25 and 35 are alleged to have vandalized cell sites of the country’s Telecommunication companies, stealing backup batteries and other valuable items including fire extinguishers and earthing cables in the process.

Luck, however, eluded them when upon a tip off at Assin Praso, they were arrested at Obuasi Junction in the Adansi North district of the Ashanti region in their quest to bolt with the telecommunication devices valued at thousands of Ghana cedis.

More than 20 backup batteries and other telecommunication appliances belonging to Glo Telecom Company were found in the Nissan Navara pickup with registration number GX 727-15 with a State Protocol office of the President sticker fixed on the windscreen which the three were using.

The sticker arguably was used ostensibly to facilitate their smooth passage at various Police check points.

The arrest of the three comes at a time when the telcos, especially Glo in the last two years have been complaining about constant destruction of their cell sites dotted across the country.

According to the company, more than 500 backup batteries and other items estimated at Ghc one million belonging to it have been looted in the process.

The backup batteries, according to the Central regional area manager for Glo, Godfred Adu Gyampi, are key devices in the mobile telephony sector as they serve as alternative power source to sustain the cell sites in the event of power outage to enable customers communicate continuously without experiencing call drops.

He explained that on February 15, 2017, 12 of such backup batteries were stolen at a major hub site at Assin Anyinabrim in the Assin South district in the central region.

Following that theft incident, he indicated that security guards at other Glo sites were instructed to be on high alert as the following day a security guard at another major cell hub site in Assin Asempanaye in the Assin North District of the Central region spotted a blue black Nissan Navara pick up leaving the site on his way back from lunch.

He added that upon further checks at the site, the security officer manning the site realised that the backup battery compartment had been vandalized and 12 batteries stolen.

The security officer, he stressed quickly alerted the site Engineer and the two hired a taxi cab to track the suspected thieves.

Mr. Gyamfi explained that upon reaching Assin Assin Praso Police check point, the security guard informed the police officers who in turn sent a wireless message to their colleagues at other Police check points along the Assin Foso -Kumasi highway.

Following the tip off, policemen at a check point at Hwiremoase near Obuasi junction arrested and detained the three young men who offered to pay the Police over Ghc 1000 as bribe, but the policemen declined and subsequently handed them to the Assin Praso Police.

The suspects who admitted to the offense of stealing, are now in Police custody at the Assin Praso Police station pending further investigation.

The police commander for Assin Praso, ASP Sabaliko, confirmed the story.