In about two hours in the pre-dawn hours yesterday, four armed bikers managed to break into seven shops between Bandra and Andheri, decamping with cash and goods from the establishments.
The loss the shops together suffered was an estimated Rs 51 lakh.
Starting their spate of well-planned heists from Bandra (West), the four broke the shutter of the retail outlet of Tara Jewellery on Waterfield Road near Bhabha Hospital but were unable to proceed further because of a secondary, secure locking system.
The looters then assaulted the lone security guard, Gurunath Rauwl, with fists and a chopper before leaving empty-handed.
The guard was recuperating in hospital, the shop owners said later in the day.
Though the shop owners were tight-lipped about the incident, stating they had been told by the police not to interact with the press, they confirmed that the guard, who was hired from Dynamic Security Agency, was admitted to Bhabha Hospital with multiple injuries, including abrasions and internal trauma caused by fists and other blunt objects.
The bikers arrived in Santacruz (West) and cracked open the locks of five shops in a row — Vision Express By Reliance, a Samsung service outlet, Infloor Plywood, Kiarra Laminates and Brijwasi Sweets on SV Road.
According to a person with Vision Express (name withheld on request), the bikers pinned down security guard Rajesh Jaiswal from Tops Security and threatened him with a chopper.
“They could get only around Rs 10,000 in cash from our shop, but they also looted branded spectacle frames and goggles worth around Rs 50,000,” the person said.
“We are still in the process of checking our inventory to get a full estimate of our loss.”
The robbers found nothing they could take in the laminate and the plywood shops. They broke the Samsung shutter, but could not proceed further because of a solid structure blocking their way.
Dinesh Aggarwal, who owns the Brijwasi shop, stated that Rs 38,000 in cash had been taken from his shop.
At a Titan watch store on SV Road, near Shoppers Stop in Andheri (West), the bikers pinned down the security guard of the high-end store and threatened him with a chopper.
One robber held the guard down while the other three picked up around 250 imported watches, said shop manager Ramesh Kenda later in the day. “Within a span of 10 minutes, three bikers wearing helmets decamped with approximately 250 pieces of Swiss- and US-made watches worth over Rs 50 lakh from the shop while the fourth person kept the security guard in his control and kept a watch,” Kenda said.
“Luckily, no watch from the Rado collection was stolen, which is worth more money. But they took other international brands like Tiscot, Longines, Guess and Esprite. We are cooperating with the police investigation by handing over the CCTV footage.”
Senior Police Inspector Arun Chavan from the Santacruz police station said the crime was still under investigation.
Police Inspector (Crime) Vijay Khaire of the Juhu police station, who is investigating the Andheri watch store robbery, the biggest of the strikes, said he had seen the CCTV footage from both Bandra and Andheri and it was evident that the same gang was involved.
“One of the gang members was dressed in a floral embroidered kurta, while others were in jackets,” Khaire said. “They wore helmets to conceal their identity.”