Pickpockets cash in on procession crowd

While crowded locations are the hunting grounds for pickpockets, the 20 lakh people that marched from Mahim to Shivaji Park yesterday were open season for chain snatchers and petty thieves alike, with more than 20 cases of theft being registered. During the funeral procession, Mahim police succeeded in arresting five such pickpockets on the spot, while another 15 complaints were reported to the police station. The adjoining Shivaji Park police registered a further five cases at their police station. 

Pick and choose: Pickpockets strike taking advantage of the crowd. Mahim police arrested five such pickpockets on the spot, while another 15 complaints were reported to the police station. Pic/Shadab Khan 

Those arrested by the Mahim police have been identified as Kiran Sawant from Santacruz, Harish Jadhav and Sanjay Ondkar from Ambernath, who are chain snatchers, and Kailash Patil from Jalgaon and Sayyid Akhil from Surat, who are pickpockets. The Shivaji Park police station also arrested six such pickpockets while the procession was passing through their jurisdiction.  Investigative officer Satish Borate of Mahim police station said, “All the five were caught red-handed by the people and were handed over to the police stationed nearby.” 

Passing the buck
According to Shivaji Park police, the pickpockets operate by passing the loot onto their accomplices when they are caught in the act.

“I was just standing and looking at the procession but because of the crowd, I don’t know how and when the chain snatcher took my necklace,” said Reshma Raut, resident of Mahim.

Devendra Khalse, another victim, said “I am very sure that my wallet was robbed as I saw a man loitering near our group near Sena Bhavan along with three to four boys.”

More than 15 people had reported about gold necklaces, chains, wallets and mobile phones being stolen.

All the accused have been booked under Section 379 (punishment for theft) while the chain snatchers were booked under Section 392 (punishment for robbery) of the Indian Penal Code. They will be presented in court today. 

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