A gang of five criminals -on-police-record from Shrirampur, managed to commit 150 chain snatchings in the last one year, yet give Pune police a slip during routine nakabandi checks, by changing their attire and vehicles before and after each crime.
The gang was arrested last year by a team of Crime Branch officials. But after being released on bail, the suspects grouped again. They were caught again yesterday.
Booty: 2.242 kg of gold worth Rs 80 lakh recovered from the gang. Pic/Mohan Patil
“The modus operandi of the gang enabled it to evade scrutiny of CCTV cameras, as the footage from different locations and initial description of the suspects never matched,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Shahaji Solunke. The arrested suspects have been identified as Sajjad Pathan (29), Shabbir Shaikh (24), Vivek Sasane (43), Aalim Pathan (21) — all residents of Shrirampur in Ahmednagar — and Salim Abdul Shaikh (32) from Bhusawal in Jalgaon.
Two jewellers — Praveen Kshatriy (46) from Shrirampur in Ahmednagar and Manish Wagh (41) from Lasalgaon in Nashik — who used to purchase stolen gold ornaments from the gang have been also arrested by Unit III of the Crime Branch. A country-made pistol and 2.242 kg of gold ornaments worth R80 lakh have been recovered from the suspects.
“The accused used to stay at Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Wai and other places in Satara district and come down to Pune in a car on week days. They conducted chain snatchings for five days and then returned to Mahabaleshwar. While in Pune they used to stay in lodges. The suspects would use stolen bikes to commit the offences. Once they snatched chains, they changed their T-shirts and abandoned the bikes anywhere. Then they’d travel in a car and return to their lodge,” Solunke informed.
Inspector Sunil Pawar of Crime Branch said, “They used to target women on roads, and even impersonate policemen. Four such cases have been registered against them. Besides, they were also active in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala etc.”