Monrovia- What was once considered one of Liberia’s well planned and thoroughly implemented crime by certain group of criminals has resurfaced in Monrovia and its surroundings, with many victims discussing their ordeals with The Liberian Billboard.
Madam Dalonia Kaetu-Smith told our reporter that she was waiting for Taxi in Barnersville when a car sprayed with Liberia’s normal yellow Taxi color stopped for her and she hopped in. She said there were other people in the car who she thought were passengers. Mrs. Kaetu-Smith said, “When I sat in the car, they told me that the door was not closed properly. So as I leaned over to reopen and close the door, they snatched my bag, shoved me out of the car and drove away”. She said her bag contained her money, phone, documents and other important things; and she was left stranded on the street. “If it had not been for some good Samaritans around, I don’t even know how I could have gotten home”, Dalonia said.
Mr. Jeremiah Johnson of Logan Town told our correspondent, “I went to visit my sister at Duport Road and wanted to pass through town to pick up something before going home. After I stopped this car at Duport Road Junction, a guy got down, open the down and told me that he will soon be getting down, so I slid and sat in the middle”. He said when they reached between JCN Howard Graveyard Junction and Paynesville Joe bar, the guys pulled out knives and instructed him to give them all they had. Mr. Johnson said they took his wallet, watch, phones, gold chain and bracelet, and even the sneakers he had on his feet.
Mrs. Kaetu-Smith and Mr. Johnson are just two of many victims of this criminal ring who spoke to The Liberian Billboard. The ring is usually referred to as “Passenger 57”, aligned to the Wesley Snipes movie Passenger 57, because of difficulty in identifying the vehicles that are involved in the crime. Usually, the criminals look like normal passengers and most times, even ladies are involved. Few years ago, similar group terrorized residents around the country, but with the help of police and ordinary citizens, they disappeared in the shadows after few of them were caught. The reemergence of this syndicate is a threat to normal movements of citizens as it is impossible to detect the good vehicles from that of these criminals. Many citizens who spoke to us called on the Liberia National Police to intervene as soon as possible because the issue is gradually getting out of hand and if nothing is done, might be passed on to Bike and Kehkeh riders.