A file picture of crowds of devotees thronging the Lalbaug Cha Raja pandal on August 28. Pic/DattaâÂÂÂÂKumbhar
That the festival season is also when thieves make merry has been proven true in a recent arrest at Mumbai's most famous Ganesh pandal, Lalbaugcha Raja. The city police have busted a gang from Varanasi, who had come all the way to the city to steal mobile phones.
The arrested accused are Raheman Ansari, 20, Sheru alias Mohd Hasan Pathan, 25, Niyat Khan, 27, Mubarak Ansari, 26, Fizulur Hasan, 29, and Ekram Ansari, 20.
According to the police, the accused arrived in Mumbai from Varanasi on August 24 and booked a room at a guest house at Dadar for the entire 10-day duration of Ganeshotsav festivities. During visiting hours at the pandal, the gang would pinch mobile phones from devotees.
They intended to steal 100 such phones every day, working from 8 am to 5 pm. Ten mobile phones, worth a total of Rs 1 lakh, wallets and purses were recovered from them.
The gang ran out of luck as two members were caught on the night of the very first day, August 25. The gang's agenda was to go in groups of three to other famous pandals as well to steal mobiles and purses. The plainclothes teams of sub-inspector Prashant Jadhav arrested the rest of the gang from the guest house.
The accused have not only targeted Mumbai, but go around the country during big festivals where they can find crowds. According to the police, they come to Mumbai every year.
Total worth of stolen phones
Number of phones the gang intended to steal each day