How agent connived with house help to steal employer’s N450,000 jewelry
The operatives of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad, RRS, have arrested a housemaid agent who specialises in assisting people to get house helps with the motive of using them to abscond with money, jewelry and other belongings of their employers.
Francis Okputu, 37 years old house help agent whose mode of operation and agreement with domestic job seekers was to help them get jobs, where they would work as house helps, nannies and cooks. He collected half of their salary for the first month as commission fee and he had been doing this since 2003 predominantly on the Lagos Mainland.
“I have been helping Lagosians get house helps and everybody in my neighborhood knows what I do and they also make recommendations and link me with their relatives who need my service,” he said.
Francis added that, “sometime in May this year, a friend directed one Joy Onoz to me to help her get a housemaid job which I did and all was fine until the next month when she began to call me that her mistress does not like her and she will like me to help do something about it”.
Francis getting to know that Joy’s Madam is wealthy, began to find means of looting the unsuspecting employer. He called Joy one day and warned her not to speak English throughout their conversation and told her to steal her madam’s money, jewelries and also help him get her picture and deliver it to him in an undisclosed place.
The gold jewelry, he told Joy, would be replaced with copper and that he would take the picture to a prophetess who would help him bewitch and make her not to question any of the girl’s deed after stealing her things.
Joy, while talking with policemen about her agent’s move to loot her employer quickly told her Madam of Francis’ plans and they played along with his arrangement.
The Mistress gave Joy some hard currencies and Jewelries and her picture and told her to contact Francis that she had successfully gotten some valuables.
Francis, unknowingly instructed Joy to meet him at Iyana-Ipaja to handover her loots to him and that he would arrange how to get the fakes across to her by doing imitations of the jewelries to avoid any suspicion.
Officers who had been contacted by the employer swung into action and laid siege for Francis at the agreed location where he was arrested after receiving the loots.
Recovered from Francis’ hand when joy was trailed to Iyana Ipaja, the point of exchange of the stolen items, were $15 dollar notes, sets of gold jewelries worth N450,000 and a picture.
This agent might have been conniving with so many domestic workers to steal valuables from their employers. Here are few takeaways for our learnings:
- It is very dangerous to source for domestic staff from unverified agents
- Most theft incidents usually have in-house informants; be conscious of whom you employ as domestic staff to avoid theft of your hard-earned properties.
- Don’t rely solely on the recommendation of others to hire your domestic workers. Do your findings yourself
- Make it mandatory the language(s) of conversation in your home is well known to you
- Always show care and respect for your domestic workers. Make them feel loved and appreciated.
- Never source for domestic staff from unverified online platform, social media channels or any online recruitment portals. It is too risky
- Never allow house help clean up your room when you are not at home. It is a time they search your room to know where valuable things are kept and waiting for the right time to operate
- Never talk about money transactions or cost of your jewelries or valuables in presence of your domestic staff
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