Mumbai crime: Store worker stole one jewellery item a day for 18 months

The accused was responsible for counting the jewellery of a Mulund-based shop at the end of the day; she would sneak one item away and mortgage it with a finance company

A 49-Year-old female employee of a jewellery store in Mumbai has been arrested for stealing valuables from her employer’s store and mortgaging them. The woman has allegedly been committing the crime for the last one and a half years and has mortgaged jewellery worth Rs 46.4 lakh till date.

Kirtida Kotecha was employed at Bharti Jewellers for the last two years
Kirtida Kotecha was employed at Bharti Jewellers for the last two years

According to officials from Mulund police station, the accused has been identified as Kirtida Rasiklal Kotecha. She was employed with Bharti Jewellers since the last two years. Senior police inspector Rajaram Vanmane from Mulund police station said, “Since she was earlier employed with a famous jewellery chain, the [current] employer trusted her more than any other employee. Kotecha was the last one to do the counting [of the jewellery] at the end of the day and then issue a signed statement with the number of jewellery pieces in the store.”

Modus operandi
The cops alleged that while doing the last count, the accused would steal one gold ornament from every 100 ornaments she counted. She would then immediately report to the Mulund branch of India Infoline Finance Limited (IIFL) — a financial services company, which offers gold loans amongst others — and take the money after mortgaging the valuables.

Assistant police inspector Pradeep Dupte from Mulund police station said, “While sanctioning [the store’s jewellery] on paper, the accused would claim that all 100 gold ornaments are in place. But at the same time, she would sneakily remove one ornament and keep it for herself.” Police sub-inspector Tukaram Ghadge from Mulund police station said, “We have issued a letter to IIFL asking them to hand over all the valuables Kotecha mortgaged with them, as she has taken a sum of around Rs 27 lakh for valuables worth Rs 46.4 lakh.”

Employers’ crackdown
However, her dream run came to an end on Thursday, after the owners of Bharti Jewellers decided to close the Mulund-based shop as the caretaker-cum-partner of the branch was admitted in the hospital. While shutting shop, the owners noticed that a few valuables were missing.

Vanmane added, “The owners were counting the valuables and they noticed that the ornaments were very less compared to the quantity shown on paper. So, they asked the woman, who then confessed to the crime. They took her to the police station.”

Kotecha has been arrested under Sections 381 (theft by clerk or servant), 408 (breach of trust) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). She was produced in the Mulund court yesterday and has been remanded to police custody.

Rs 27 lakh
The amount Kirtida Kotecha has pocketed from mortgaging the looted jewellery

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