The Pastor of Jesus Miracle Church at No. 16, Ado-Odo Road, Afan, Sango-Ota, Ogun State, Jeremiah Ehindero, has said he stole a N1.2million vehicle when his congregation’s tithes and offerings was not enough to pay off a N650,000 bank loan.
Ehindero, 41, blamed the devil for his action.
The Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad (FSARS) at Adeniji Adele Road, Lagos Island, Lagos alleged that Ehindero stole the Toyota Highlander Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) from a car dealer and sold it off at Ore, Ondo State, for N600,000.
The police said they also have in their custody Ehindero’s alleged accomplices: Lateef Oyetunde who allegedly purchased the SUV from the pastor; Jamiu Abiodun, 35 and Lukman Moyoyesa, who both allegedly introduced Ehindero to the buyer.
“I decided to steal the SUV to sell and use the proceeds to settle the N650,000 I borrowed from a microfinance bank in Lagos.
“I borrowed the sum of N650,000 from a microfinance bank to renovate my church with the hope to recover the investment from tithes and offerings, but I was surprised that for three months, no money was realised to repay the loan.
“When the pressure from the microfinance bank became too unbearable for me, the devil told me to go and steal a vehicle from the car dealer to sell and use the proceeds to repay the loan. I regret my action, Ehindero allegedly told the police.
But Oyetunde, denied being aware that the SUV was stolen. He said: “If I had known that the Pastor stole the SUV, I would not have purchased it.
The police alleged that Ehindero visited a car sales outlet at Sango-Ota, belonging to one Jamiu. He introduced himself as a cleric and requested for a Toyota Highlander SUV to be used for evangelism.
After the parties agreed a price of N1.2m for the SUV, the dealer allowed him to test drive the vehicle within the area. But the pastor got into the car and zoomed off, never to return.
According to the police, Ehindero switched off his phone, removed the SUV’s number plate marked ‘LND 816 CK’ and sped off to Ore, where he sold the vehicle to a spare parts dealer for N600,000.
After waiting for 24 hours, the dealer reported the case to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, (DCP) in charge of FSARS, Lagos, Mr Kola Okunola Kamaldeen.
Following investigation, the SUV was tracked to Ondo State and recovered. The buyer and Ehindero’s alleged accomplices were also arrested at the scene, the police said, while the pastor was traced to his residence in Sango-Ota