How far would you go to impress your girlfriend? Would you beg or borrow or steal? The Vasai police arrested five youth on Monday, two of them juveniles, who chose the last option.
Two of the arrested gang members. Pics/Hanif Patel
The police say that over the course of six months, the quintet had stolen at least 10 two-wheelers from Vasai and Virar to take their girlfriends out on rides as well as to roam around themselves.
The recovered two wheelers outside Vasai police station
Since they hailed from poor families and did not have money to refuel, they would exhaust the petrol in the vehicles’ tank and abandon them on the roadside, before setting their sights on another. While 10 two-wheelers were recovered based on information given by the teens, officials suspect they are responsible for many more thefts.
For nearly six months, the Vasai police were baffled when they got reports of two-wheeler thefts in the Vasai and Virar regions in which the vehicles would be found abandoned and with empty tanks instead of being sold in toto or for parts.
A special team was formed to probe the thefts but since the teenagers didn’t sell any of the stolen two-wheelers, it was difficult to trace them. Police said the gang mostly targeted Activas outside the Vasai and Virar railway stations.
After finding more abandoned two-wheelers, the police came to the conclusion that the gang they were chasing operated differently from others and, thus, they tried a different tack themselves.
Last week, the cops got a tip-off about one of the gang members and managed to arrest him on Monday. Following his questioning, they managed to arrest four more members. Officials said all five gang members, three of whom are in their early 20s and two are juveniles, hail from poor families. Four of them are school dropouts.
They have been charged under Section 379 (Punishment for theft) of the IPC. “The bikes were being stolen by the boys to impress their girlfriends and take them on rides,” said an officer from the Vasai police station.
“We had arrested a person in connection with the thefts and nabbed the rest after questioning him. We are also investigating if more people are involved,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Narsing Bhosale.