Most of us know the circumstances in the early 2000s. The acts of this infamous thief who made people live and fear and panic. “Atta Ayi”. Well everyone had a story to tell about him. But what are the truths; and what are falsities. Take a read here:
Raymond Ayee Ayeetey was born in Adabraka, Accra. He was a school-going child until he quit in class 4 after his mom traveled to UK. Ataa Ayi learnt how to drive and later became a taxi driver.
In an interview with one of the media houses he recounted his story that, in 1998, he drove someone to a festival in Okropong and on his way back, got into an accident which destroyed his master’s car. He returned to Accra jobless and a debtor. In seeking for a job, a friend introduced him to another (Eddie) who needed a skillful driver.
The need for this skillful driver was for car looting. Ataa Ayi joined Eddie to help him with his criminal activities. Initially, on finding out that his job was to aid car looters, he expressed his dissatisfaction. But he also needed the money for his pregnant wife and his business ambitions.
In his need for money, Ataa Ayi joined the gang, of car looters. The operation of this gang involved monitoring people who go to the banks to withdraw money, attacking and stealing their money. Ataa Ayi’s first operation was in 1999 when he and his gang stole 12 million cedis of which he got 2.5 million cedis for himself.
One fateful day, the gang came across a gun in a police car and took it. They decided to use it for their criminal operations but none of them knew how to actually use it.
The gang hijacked cars and robbed people from banks and busses. The frequency of these acts made people believe he had charms that protected him from gunshots and the police. A victim one day told his story of how he was robbed even in traffic. Another eye witness narrated his story of how a man was trailed by the gang from a bank where he had withdrawn 22 million cedis. When he stopped to give the money to his wife, he was crossed by the robbers amid firing. The gang also followed a pastor from Osu where he had withdrawn 56 million cedis, entered the church but could not snatch the bag containing the money. They entered into an office and met one pastor who was checking the money. They shot him and made away with 6 million cedis.
In total, the cash the gang made away with was about 700 million cedis plus cars, telephones and jewelry. Ataa Ayi became so popular that his face was put on billboards throughout the country. His name even became a common household name and nickname for thieves
In 2000, the police, in pursuit of a lead went to Chorkor for his arrest but Ataa Ayi had travelled a funeral. On realization on how he wanted he was, he went into hiding.
The police searched vey possible place he must have been operating and living. All his gang members were arrested or killed from the search except Ataa Ayi. People even then promoted stories of his invincibility and powers.
However, even the best of criminals have a day when they will be captured. Ataa Ayi’s was at Nungua while being the caretaker of his elder sister’s house. There was an argument between the tenants in the house where the his sister’s daughter insulted him. Ataa Ayi then beat up the tenant for which the case was reported to the police.
On 28th February 2005, the police went to his residence and found him drying his clothes. They came to arrest him on counts of assault only to find out he was the most wanted criminal in the country. He was arrested whiles begging the police on his knees not to kill him.
While in custody, Ataa Ayi claimed he was tortured and coerced to sign statements which he claims some of which were not true. He also claimed that most of the witnesses who testified against him at his trial committed perjury, but he was happy to have been sentenced. He was later sentenced to 160 years with hard labour and is still serving his time at the Ankaful Maximum security prisons in Cape Coast .
Ataa Ayi is now a pastor in prison and now regrets all his past crimes and sins and has accepted Jesus as his savior.
Ataa Ayi still pleads with the government to be granted pardon. He hopes to become a great pastor on his release.