The festival of Ramzan holds many meanings for people. For the devout it is a time of fasting and prayer. For some it is a time to feast, and go shopping. And for some others, it is the perfect time to steal.
The police have arrested two women for targetting women's purses at Mumbai markets during Ramzan. Their accomplice is on the run and police are looking for him.
The trio's plan came to light when an advocate was robbed. Police said the 36-year-old advocate from Nashik, Kamini Kherudkar shopped at Nakhoda Mohalla, Pydhonie with her mother and two-year-old daughter on June 10. She said at one point a stranger asked her if she had dropped her purse. Kherudkar said she hadn't.
But when they entered a shop Kherudkar couldn't find a pink purse. She immediately lodged a complaint at Pydhonie Police station.
The pink purse contained a diamond necklace and gold ornaments worth Rs 4.11 lakh. The Pydhonie police checked CCTV footage but couldn't find anything suspicious.
On the evening of June 12, Police Sub-Inspector Swapnil Shinde noticed a woman standing by the roadside suspiciously. The police kept watch on her and realised that she was watching passers-by. She was apprehended. She said her name was Mumtaj Sheikh, (45), and she was from Ahmedabad.
"We took her to the police station and during interrogation she revealed she had come to Mumbai a week before with some friends for work," said a police officer.
But when she was interrogated further, Mumtaj confessed that she had stolen a bag on June 11. A purse and a razor blade was found in her pocket. She was then arrested. Mumtaj revealed she had two accomplices, a woman named Saira, and a man, Firoz. She said they were staying at Bismillah Hotel at Pydhonie. The police raided their room and found some jewellery and Rs 18,000. Sairabano Parmaar (20) was arrested.
"We have solved two cases with these arrests. The trio would keep an eye on shoppers and steal purses by tearing bags or picking them by distracting the owners," said another police officer. "There have been such instances when out of state gangs came specially to commit thefts in this area during the festival, and have been arrested.
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