I heard you had a situation this morning,” Tobi started. “Kunle, give me a report.”
“Yes, sir. Someone called emergency services around four-thirty this morning to report that someone was breaking into a supermarket opposite her house in the Marina area of Lagos Island. Emergency routed it to LIPD— ”
“At four-thirty?” Tobi asked.
That was strange. Little little crimes happened all the time, and a break-in was one of the very minor things that happened everyday. Yes, emergency services received calls twenty-four seven, but receiving emergency calls and doing something about them were two different things. Back when he was working on the mainland, Tobi had never known the police to take emergency calls very seriously. It was true that it was better on the island where the police had better organization, but even then it wasn’t by much. Definitely not enough for an emergency that had happened when day hadn’t even broken.
Ambulance services were even the worst. The only people he knew that were serious with emergencies was the fire department. And a break-in didn’t concern those ones.
“And you were made aware of it how? Dispatch normally close before eleven, and you know we don’t have any night shift. So how did emergency now contact you?”
“I saw their SMS on my phone.”
Oh, so that was it. No dispatch and no police working night, so emergency services had just sent an automated bulk SMS to everybody on the Island whose number was registered with the police.
Tobi looked round the table. He was holding court in Homicide Unit this Monday morning, and his junior detectives sat all around the conference table.
“Which means all of you received the same message on your phone.”
Some of them nodded, and most grumbled a reply, but it was obvious that the bulk message had reached all of them. Tobi wasn’t a fool, and he hadn’t been head of Homicide Divison for all his career with the police. He had worked with the boys for years, and he knew how things went.
Most of the time, officers just disregarded anything emergency services threw their way, especially when it would inconvenience them. It was only when a superior insisted that they would do something. He was sure most of them were hissing in their minds and calling Kunle a fool for interrupting his sleep for something as trivial as an SMS reporting a break-in.
Tobi smiled. I just pity all of them.
“Go on, Kunle.” He would return to their matter later.
“Okay. The front door of the supermarket was broken when we got there and there was glass everywhere, and burglar alarm was ringing. Two officers from their police station in Lagos Island came few minutes after me, and they brought a car. I was the highest-ranking officer there as a junior detective, and the first thing on my mind was to post guards outside while the rest would go in, but we were not enough, so we all had to go inside.
“But I still had another idea. We parked one car across the front entrance and drove the other one to block the back entrance. I knew it would have slowed us down in case the burglar ran out, but it would also slow him down as well, so it was a good plan. I was just afraid that maybe the person had already run away before we came.
“But the man was still there. I’m not sure he could open their safe, because he packed plenty of their goods inside a bag. There was no fifty kobo inside that bag. He heard our cars outside, so he was trying to run away when we entered. One of the officers stayed at the back entrance, while me and the second one entered the front. He just ran straight to meet us. We didn’t even have to corner him. When we put handcuffs on him, he just started crying that it’s because he and his family were hungry.