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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 19 November 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Mobile telephone software exposes kidnapper

A mobile telephone software, Truecaller, has exposed a man who allegedly kidnapped a four-year-old pupil of a private school at Anaji in the Sekondi/Takoradi metropolis.

After taking custody of the child, the suspect is said to have locked him up in a hotel room, called the boy’s father and placed a ransom of GH¢25,000 on his head. The ransom was later renegotiated to GH¢3,000.

The suspect, Schmidt Yamoah, who was put before the Takoradi Circuit Court, presided over by Mrs Rita Doku, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment with hard labour after he pleaded guilty to the charge of kidnapping.

The Western Regional Crime Officer, Superintendent of Police Mr Rubbin Asiwoko, told the court that the convict, who was unemployed, lived in the same vicinity as the victim.

He said after planning and identifying his victim, Yamoah went to the boy’s school (name withheld) and told his teacher that he (Yamoah) had been sent by the boy’s father to come for her (teacher) telephone number for some discussion.

The crime officer said ignorant of any bad intentions on the part of Yamoah, the teacher gave her number to Yamoah, who had already managed to secure the boy’s father’s number.

“After securing the teacher’s number, he called her. He pretended to be the boy’s father and told her that his errand boy would pick his son for something very urgent,” he said.

He said Yamoah later called the teacher that he had been sent to pick the boy and she willingly handed the boy to him.

Mr Asiwoko said Yamoah moved with the child to a hotel at Mpintsin, where he had booked a room for three days. He entered the room with the boy on the blind side of the management of the hotel.

“After settling in the room, he called the boy’s father and told him that he had taken his son hostage and that until he paid GH¢25,000 he would not see him again. “The man cut the call and called his wife, who reached the teacher, who in turn confirmed the release of the boy,” he said.

The boy’s father then entered into negotiations with Yamoah, after establishing “proof of life” and the GH¢25,000 ransom was reduced to GH¢3,000, with Yamoah directing him to put the money under a stone at an isolated place at Mpintsin, he said.

“After Yamoah had taken the money, he told the boy’s father that he was going to release the boy in an hour, but he waited till about 4 a.m. and took the child from the hotel to the house. He asked the boy to sit down on a stone at the back of the house and later called the man to go for him,” he said.

Mr Asiwoko said earlier the boy’s father had called Yamoah’s number using Truecaller, which revealed his full name as Schmidt Yamoah.

“The man went on social media and searched the name Schmidt Yamoah, got a photograph of him and showed it to the boy, who identified Yamoah as the one who had come for him,” he added.

Police intelligence, he said, later zeroed in on Yamoah and he was apprehended, after which he confessed to the crime.