The man, who called himself Raja Keeda, is a veteran in stealing and snatching bags; a seasoned bag-lifter who taught him the tricks of the trade bestowed him with the title of ‘keeda’ (insect) due to his thin frame
A bag thief who had been bugging the police for the past five years has finally been caught in their net.
Keeda’s gang surrounded the victim from four corners, while a fifth one would swoop away with the bag. Representation Pic/Thinkstock
The Anti-Dacoity and Robbery squad has managed to arrest a bag-lifter and snatcher who, according to the police, has more than 100 cases of bag lifting registered against him. According to the police, the accused Raja Keeda is 36 years old and began stealing bags when he was 15.
When he was a greenhorn in the ‘business’, his mentor and guru, Kadar Badshah, taught him the tricks of the trade. Badshah is known in police circles as the king of bag lifting — which is why ‘badshah’ has gotten appended to his name.
Raja was actually born as Nasir Yasin Sheikh, but his teacher Badshah, seeing his thin body frame, conferred him with the title of ‘keeda’ (insect). Later, the whole family adopted the surname — his brothers are called Akhil Keeda and Javed Keeda and all the Keedas earn their bread as bag thieves.
A police officer from the Anti-Dacoity and Robbery squad said, “Bag lifting is a family business — all their members, except the women, are bag lifters. Raja was trained by the veteran Kadar Badshah.”
Explaining Keeda’s modus operandi, police said that his gang surrounded the victim from four corners, while a fifth one would swoop away with the bag. They would either snatch the bag or separate it by cutting off its handle. Keeda would observe the body language of his target; if the bag he/she carried didn’t contain any valuable object, people tended to hold it by the handle. Else, if the bag contained something of great value, a victim would naturally hold it close to the body, and he would be very self-conscious, police explained Keeda’s logic.
He had deduced this through his many years of field experience. After zeroing in on a victim, the gang would encircle the victim and Keeda would make off with the bag before the victim would even realise what was happening.
Catching the bug
On Wednesday, Keeda arrived in Chembur along with his four accomplices. Informers had passed on information to the police that the gang was going to rob ornaments from a jewellery shop there.
Accordingly, cops laid a trap and caught Keeda and his four accomplices — Firoz Shaikh, Anant Sonawane, Noor Mohammed Ismail Memon and Mohammed Shaikh. The five have been booked under Section 399 (making preparation to commit dacoity) of the Indian Penal Code, and have been remanded to police custody.
Police informed that Keeda had cases registered against him at police stations in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane district.