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Curtains for theatrical crooks

Two members of a gang of three musketeers, who enacted mock street-fights and stole valuables from people engrossed in watching them beat up each other, were arrested by the Pydhonie police on Friday after the cops got a tip off that they would stage another fake fight.

According to the cops, two of the crooks would suddenly start attacking each other on the road, attracting a crowd of curious onlookers. As some of them would try to intervene and others were engrossed in the drama unfolding before their eyes, the third member of the gang would quietly go about doing his job -- picking pockets and decamping with wallets, chains and other valuables from a captive audience.

According to police officials, the two arrested men have been identified as Sazauddhin Mohommad Maroof Khayat, 25, and Irfan Subarti Shaikh, 24. The two were arrested red-handed while they were about to lighten the pockets of a few people during one of the staged fights. The third member of the gang, however, managed to escape.

An officer from Pydhonie police station said, “They employed the same plan every time. One of them would push the other to the ground and start arguing and fighting. Naturally this would attract a lot of onlookers. While people watched the fight unfold and were distracted, the third member removed valuables and money from a victim’s pocket.”

But luck ran out for the gang when a police informer tipped off the cops about the next venue for the trio’s theatrical act. “We received information that a group of thieves was going to assemble on a street under our jurisdiction to rob people. So we dispatched two teams. A team consisting of Assistant Police Inspector Jaywanth Shinde, Constable Dilip Hande and Constable Vilas Hake found the three thieves trying to steal valuables from an onlooker,” said the officer.

Realising the cops had caught on, the three made a dash for it but Khayat and Shaikh were caught. However the third crook overpowered a constable and escaped. Ironically, the man who had been robbed, had not realised that his wallet with Rs 5,000 in it was missing till the cops returned it to him. The two men were then brought to the police station and confessed the crime. They admitted to having robbed many people in Pydhonie. Khayat and Shaikh, both residents of Mankhurd, have been booked under Sections 392 (robbery) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and have been remanded to police custody.

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