As the sons of God gathered to attend to God, Job 2:1 said that Satan came with them too. This scene played out at Assumpta Cathedral Owerri on Saturday August 4, when Gabriel (surname withheld) disguised himself like a seminarian wearing a soutane – to deceive everyone, but he ran out of luck as the Men of Order and Discipline (MOD) a security outfit of the church caught hold of him.
Gabriel, a native of Orlu LGA. whose first confessions showed that he works as a cleaner at St. John the Baptist Monastery Ikot Ekpene where he stole the soutane he wore at Assumpta. He said he left Ikot Ekpene two months ago to his home town Orlu to raise money to enable him join the monastery. This quest led him to a prayer centre managed by one sister Ocheze at Amanachi Orlu on Friday 3rd August. Dressed in soutane, he told them that he is a seminarian in need of help and received some financial aid from the prayer centre.
He then made his way to Assumpta Cathedral to meet his Sister who he said resides at Old Nekede Road but told him that she was coming to Assumpta for priestly ordination. He said he planned to tell his sister to raise some money for him to help him pursue his dreams.
When his first story could not connect with what he was doing when he was caught by the security apparatus at Assumpta, more revelations were made. On further interrogation, Gabriel made shocking revelations that showed that he stole the soutane he was wearing from the sacristy of St. Joseph Parish Okporo Orlu, his home parish. That he works with a crime syndicate of six members led by a lady (name withheld) from Okporo Orlu who runs a provisions store. He said that they stole three cars from Orlu last month: two Toyota Camry cars and one Golf 3. The two Toyota Camry cars have been sold while the Golf 3 has been repainted and given a new plate number.
The suspect confessed that his gang specializes in stealing cars from ceremonies and that they open these cars with a master key. Whenever they succeed in their plan, he will wear soutane and pose in the car as either a priest or a seminarian so that they can cross police checkpoints.
Gabriel said that his purpose of attending the prayer ministry of Sr. Ocheze at Orlu on Friday was to check out for a car they can steal. His group normally waits a distance for a signal from him. When their plan was foiled because of the tight security at the prayer centre, they made Assumpta Cathedral their next target.
He said that while the Ordination Mass was going on, his group drove down to Owerri from Orlu with the Golf 3 they stole last month. They dropped him at Control Post and drove down to Port Harcourt Motor Park along World Bank road to wait there for signals from him.
To douse suspicions at Assumpta, he wore the soutane he stole from St. Joseph Okporo and told the security that he is a seminarian from Ikot Ekpene. He said as the Mass was going on, he was busy checking out for any car that his gang can steal preferably Toyota Camry cars. His plan was to send signals to their gang leader, a lady, who was with the rest of the gang waiting at World Bank Road as soon as he sees a car that is positioned outside the watchful eyes of the security on ground. However, as the saying goes that every day is for the thief but one day is for the owner of the house. But Gabriel could not beat the heavy security mounted at the Cathedral that Saturday as they started monitoring his suspicious moves from the very moment he entered the premises. He was later handed over to the police.
The Imo State Police PRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem confirmed the incident, adding that the suspect further confessed that they lurk around churches to steal cars or kidnap victims.
Enwerem told The Sun: “Yes, we have one suspect in our custody. Upon interrogation, he confessed that they wear priests’ uniform (vestment) to deceive people when they want to kidnap or steal cars in churches.”