Mumbai cops put the brakes on bicycle thief after 40 thefts over 1 yr

19-year-old Dinesh More had almost perfected the art of stealing top-drawer bikes from residential colonies in Andheri, but he got too ambitious

Not knowing when to hit the brakes spoiled the game plan of a poor teenager, who thought he could ride the road to riches by peddling stolen bicycles.

Dinesh More and the booty he managed to accumulate over the course of a year
Dinesh More and the booty he managed to accumulate over the course of a year

Nineteen-year-old Dinesh More was on Friday arrested by the Oshiwara police on the charge of carrying out a string of thefts of high-end bicycles from posh localities in Versova, Oshiwara and Lokhandwala in suburban Andheri.

Originally from Satara, the teenager found himself fancying bicycles beyond his modest means to buy. He thus decided to steal top-notch bikes from those who could afford them.

Coming from a poor background, More desperately wanted to live a lavish life in the city, cops said. While he slept on footpaths at night, he wanted to go clubbing and wear branded clothes by selling off the bicycles.

Over the past one year, he has stealthily targeted 16 housing societies in Lokhandwala, Oshiwara, Seven Bungalows and Juhu, leaving the security guards and owners of the two-wheelers without an inkling as to where the bikes could have disappeared.

The accused used to pretend to be a friend or relative of one of the residents of the society and gain entry to the building, only to ride out with stolen bicycles, and no one would know until the hapless bike owners realised their possessions were missing.

Very often, he’d wait patiently outside the target society and carry out a recee, often ending up chatting with the security guards in order to befriend them. Once he gained a sound understanding of the kind of bicycles stationed on the society’s premises, he would wait for the watchman to go to the bathroom or dose off, and sneak out with the two-wheelers.

The cost of the cycles he robbed ranges from Rs 15,000 to Rs 80,000. The matter escalated last week when the Oshiwara police received three similar theft complaints within a day. This prompted them to take the cases seriously and they notified all the societies and gymnasiums in the area.

What made the police’s job easier was that More’s acts were caught on surveillance cameras watching over many of the buildings he targeted. His pictures were released in all the neighbourhoods he would stalk. Last Friday, while walking along the pavements of Lokhandwala, he was spotted by a police informer who immediately tipped off the detection officer attached to Oshiwara police station.

During interrogation, More revealed that he had robbed 40 bicycles, together worth lakhs of rupees, and sold them for measly sums to cycle repair shops and other customers. If he did not find any takers, he would go to parks and playgrounds and rent out the cycles.

He was produced in court the same day and remanded in police custody till Wednesday. The police have notified many of those More had robbed about their missing bicycles, and some have even identified their bikes.
Incidentally, due to the frequent robberies, many societies were forced to change their entire security staff, suspicious that the security personnel might be working in-tandem with the bicycle thief.

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