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Chain snatchers flipped number plates of bikes to throw cops, victims off trail

Their new trick was exposed after the Pimpri police, while on a patrolling round, nabbed five gang members in the 19-24 age group right in the act, and questioned them

Five suspects arrested by the police have revealed that chain snatchers are adopting innovative ways to make a clean getaway. They flip the number plates of their bikes to throw cops off their scent, as the pedestrians they strike have no leads to give to the policemen.

While Pimpri police officials were on patrolling duty on Monday, they got suspicious of a bunch of bike-borne youngsters because of their furtive behaviour. “When the officials followed them, they saw them flipping the plates. After they were questioned, the modus operandi of the gang was revealed,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III) Shahaji Umap said.

The suspects have been identified as Nilesh Sanjay Saste (20), Prashant Pavansingh Thakur (19), Muzammil alias Munna Jakir Ansari (20) - all three from Kalewadi in Pimpri, and Rahul Baburao Gavali (24) and Ashok Shankar atke (20) from Chinchwad. Three more of their accomplices are absconding.

Police have recovered 600 gram of stolen gold ornaments and two bikes from their possession.

The suspects confessed to have committed 42 offences of chain snatching in areas like Pimprigaon, Kalbhornagar, Morwadi, Vaibhavnagar, HA Company, Nehru Chowk, Morya Gosavi Mandir, KSB Chowk, Indira College, Rakshak Chowk, Jagtap Dairy, Pimple Gurav, Kasarwadi and so forth.

A prize of Rs 15,000 has been announced for the team of Inspector Mohan Vidhate, Sub-inspector Ansar Shaikh, Shakir Jinedi, Shivraj Kalandikar, Faeem Sayyad, Irfan Momin, Sunil Choudhary, Datta Gaikwad, Dilip Jagdale, Gorakh Theurkar, Baba Inamdar, Pandurang Jadhav, Vilas Kekane and Maruti Londhe, for nabbing the gang.

‘Reverse’ act
DCP Umap said, “The suspects used to keep an eye out for women pedestrians. If they noticed any woman wearing a gold chain, one of them would approach her and distract her by asking for some address, while another would be waiting on his bike, ready to dash. Once the victim stepped in their trap, they would snatch her chain and flee the spot on the bike.”

He continued, “Before striking, they would turn their number plates over, so the victim could only see blank plates. They would later reverse the plates again at an isolated place. Even when the women called up the police after being robbed, they couldn’t give the cops the bike number. This method helped the chain grabbers dodge scrutiny at check posts by the police at various spots.”

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