Despite no leads, Mumbai police tracks down thieves in just 8 hours

They drew route map based on CCTV footage; trace the scooter with the help of cellphone triangulation

Deputy Commissioner of Police Manojkumar Sharma, Dilip Shinde, JJ Marg senior inspector, and his team with the recovered cashDeputy Commissioner of Police Manojkumar Sharma, Dilip Shinde, JJ Marg senior inspector, and his team with the recovered cash

The JJ Marg police cracked a robbery case and caught the thieves in just eight hours despite having no lead.

Around 1 am on Sunday, Suryakant Menkudale (45), a daily cash collection agent of Aishwarya Nagari Sahakari Patpedhi, Kumbharwada, near Dongri, was returning home after making the day's collection from vendors and shop owners when two men on a scooter snatched his bag. The bag contained R3.50 lakh in cash, passbooks of 250-300 credit society members and a cellphone. Menkudale chased them for a distance, but couldn't catch them. After a few hours, he approached the JJ Marg police, who registered a case under sections 392 (theft) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

A team was immediately formed under senior inspector Dilip Shinde, and Inspectors Kadam and Netaram Mhaske.

Hit a wall
But the police had barely any lead to begin their investigation. “On the CCTV camera footage, the scooter's rear was visible only for a fraction of a second and it had no licence plate,” said Shinde. “We started looking into 50 CCTV cameras in south Mumbai to track the thieves.”

While none of the CCTV cameras gave a clear picture of the motorists, the police drew up a map of the route they took and suspected that they were locals since they knew they way around lanes in the area. “We arrived at the conclusion that they could not have crossed Bhendi Bazar or reached CST,” said Shinde.

Clue from cellphone
The police also tracked Menkudale's mobile phone and triangulated it a 1-km radius in Dongri. “The route map took us to a building in Dongri. We raided it and found a brand new Suzuki Access without a licence plate on the premises,” said a police officer.

The Suzuki Access belonged to Moin Zuber Khan (20), whose parents had gifted him the scooter just five days earlier. On being questioned, Khan confessed to robbing Menkudale and revealed the name of his aide, Azhar Abdul Aziz Sheikh (22), a resident of Chittalwala Chawl in Chor Bazaar.

Both Khan and Sheikh were unemployed and had robbed Menkudale after seeing him collect cash earlier that night. After snatching the bag, Khan had dumped the passbooks in a drain behind the Dongri building and stashed the bag on the terrace.
The police arrested Khan and recovered the cash at 9 am. Khan and Sheikh were produced in court and remanded in police custody till today.

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