Police debunk armed robbery accusation against suspect

BY: Prince Acquah
Philip Avornorfe — He was wrongfully accused of armed robbery
Philip Avornorfe — He was wrongfully accused of armed robbery

The police have begun investigations into an alleged robbery case for which the suspect had to seek refuge in an effluent-filled tunnel in the Odaw drain in Accra last Monday to escape from his pursuers.

Preliminary investigations by the police have, meanwhile, revealed that the suspect, Philip Avornorfe, who hails from Aflao in the Volta Region, did not steal GH¢50,000, and neither did he stab his alleged victim, as earlier claimed by his accusers.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, DSP Efia Tenge, the 23-year-old man rather attempted to steal a scaffold from a company (name withheld) where he had been employed as a labourer.

Luck, however, eluded him when he was caught by the foreman at the company’s site, with the assistance of two other men.

The suspect, however, succeeded in freeing himself from the grip of the men and took to his heels.

“When they began shouting ‘thief, thief’, it attracted the attention of other people around who chased him. Sensing danger, and for fear of his life, the suspect decided to seek refuge in the tunnel.

“So it is not true that he stabbed someone and stole money; there was nothing like that. Apparently, Avornorfe did not also steal the scaffold; he only attempted to steal it,” DSP Tenge emphasised.

She further indicated that the suspect, who sustained injuries to his left eye and was sent to hospital, had since been treated and discharged.

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He is currently assisting the police in their investigations.

Drama unfolded at Odawna in Accra last Monday when an alleged armed robber descended into an effluent-filled tunnel to escape from his pursuers and refused to come out, despite efforts by city authorities to get him out.

The police, who later arrived on the scene, used different tactics, including firing warning shots to scare the alleged robber from his refuge, but all to no avail.

All outlets to the tunnel were blocked to prevent the suspect from escaping.

The police had to descend into the tunnel to engage the suspect, who was wielding knives and other implements, in a tussle before he was eventually overpowered and dragged out, to the delight of the crowd that had gathered to witness the rare spectacle.

The entire operation took the police about six hours to accomplish.

Eyewitness account

According to some eyewitnesses, the suspect had, around 6:30 a.m., been seen running away after allegedly stabbing a woman and taking GH¢50,000 from her.

He was hotly pursued by a mob, who wanted to lynch him.

Sensing danger, he jumped into the Odaw drain, waded through the wastewater into a tunnel in the drain filled with effluent and hid in it for close to six hours.

The incident, which attracted a large crowd, caused an unusual gridlock on the Graphic Road.