Cops bust robber gang in Kothrud

Arrest 4 men before they could strike again in suburb, recover jewellery, arms worth Rs 6.19 lakh; 5th gang member escapes

The Kothrud police busted a gang -- notorious for chain-snatchings, house break-in, vehicle theft and mugging -- by arresting four of its members while they were planning to carry out a major robbery in the area on January 5.

Got them: Officers of the Kothrud police station with the arrested gang 
members and the seized weapons and other accessories 

The accused have been identified as Sunil Lakshman Gawli (24) from Sambhaji Nagar in Dhankawadi, Angad Mahadeo Gawli (23) from Shantinagar slums in Kothrud, Kumar Vilas Bhoj (19) from Yashodeep Society in Warje-Malwadi and Rohidas alias Pintya Lakshman Gupte (27) from Dhayri Gaon. But the fifth member of the gang, Arun Vitthal Pawar (24), managed to give the cops a slip.

Wanted in 15 cases
The accused are wanted in 15 cases, which includes 12 chain-snatchings and one house break-in, vehicle theft and mugging each, the police told in a press conference yesterday. The police recovered gold ornaments, weapons and other accessories worth Rs 6.19 lakh from the possession of the accused. Two bikes, a large sickle, a country-made pistol, a screw driver, a fancy pistol-shaped lighter, a CD player and a small TV set, a gas stove and a cylinder were also seized. 

According to the police, all the accused are history-sheeters. In two recent incidents, the gang members had held a businessman at gunpoint and robbed him of Rs 20,000. Their next victim was one Brijesh Kumar Yadav. The goons mugged Yadav and robbed him of Rs 12,000. 

Loot and scoot
Elaborating on the modus operandi of the gang, Senior Police Inspector Chandrakant Ghodke said that the gang mostly carried out its operations in suburban areas of the city and took refuge in adjoining districts after committing crime. "This gang operated largely in Kothrud as they got an esier escape route to the outskirts from the suburbs. Other areas where such gangs operate are Satara Road and Viman Nagar from where escaping into neighbouring Satara and Ahmadnagar districts is easier", he said. 

The gang used to gather at Dhayri where after having lunch they would plan their operation. "For a two-man job like chain-snatching on bikes, they randomly picked their roles. They are also adept at starting conversations with unsuspecting women and elderly. Interestingly, they never covered their faces during all acts," Ghodke said.

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