The most wanted crook would hypnotise people into parting with their valuables, and had at least 100 cases pending against him
A smooth-talking conman, who spent over a decade targeting elderly people and hypnotising them into parting with their valuables and cash, was finally arrested by the Vasai police yesterday.
Vijay Tambe had kept the police on their toes since 1993, but was finally arrested yesterday
With over 100 cases pending against him, the crook was on the most wanted list since 1993 and had kept Mumbai Police on their toes since then.
It was close to impossible to track the 43-year-old accused, Vijay Tambe, as he would quickly flee the crime scene and wander from place to place, blowing the stolen money on food, drinks and other revelry until it was all over. Then he would rest on a railway platform or footpath before his next con.
This game of hide and seek with the police intensified three months ago after he scammed a victim in Vasai, where he already had one case pending against him.
They had a CCTV image of Tambe and kept an eye out for another appearance.
He didn’t disappoint — on Tuesday, the Vasai team was notified that Tambe had swindled another citizen in Dombivli. They began to comb all the areas near the crime scene and finally found him near the railway station yesterday.
He will be produced in court today, but the police have so far found him a tough nut to crack. They have not been able to recover any of the stolen items so far.
The cops said he is trying to mislead them and keeps shifting the blame onto his three associates, who are still at large.
“The accused claims he is suffering from a life-threatening disease, which we are trying to verify,” said an officer.
Tambe and his accomplices would approach victims — usually elderly men and women wearing jewellery or carrying other valuables — and would pose as police officers or some other figure of authority. Victims said they would be impressed by Tambe’s fluent English, his fancy car and his boasts about being a rich man with a lot of property.
The victims would not even realise that sometime during the conversation, the gang had made off with their valuables.
Cops said Tambe’s wife works with the municipal corporation in Bhiwandi, while his son and three daughters are in school. The police suspect he bought a Xylo car with the stolen money and may have also bought properties under the names of his family members, but he has denied this.
PI Sampat Patil, from the Vasai police station, said, “We have arrested Tambe and are trying to learn the whereabouts of his gang members.”