While the culprits have been identified as Sagar Shinde (20), Pandurang Shinde (25), Vitthal Shinde (19) and Kailash Shahu, three of their accomplices, including a scrap dealer who would purchase the stolen cables, are at large. During interrogation the quartet revealed that the last 450 kg of cables, approximately worth Rs 4 lakh, was stolen from areas between Borivli and Dahisar.
On May 17, the MTNL officials had registered a complaint against unknown people, alleging them of stealing cables between Borivili and Dahisar. While investigating the case, cops received a tip-off that some of the thieves were hiding in Bhiwandi’s Bhorpada area. The police arrested all the four culprits while they were asleep.
“Three of their accomplices, including a scrap dealer who used to purchase the stolen cables are still at large,” investigating officer Santosh Dalvi of MHB police station said.
During interrogation, the quartet revealed that they had been stealing telephone cables for the last six months and had struck at places like Sion, Dadar, Parel, Byculla, Bhindi Bazaar, Lower Parel and Borivli. They said that they would always operate in the wee hours to avoid public glare. And by chance if any of the passers-by enquired they would say that they were fixing the line. They would later sell the stolen cable to the absconding scrap dealer.
All the culprits were booked under Sections 34 (Conspiracy) and 379 (Punishment for theft) of the Indian Penal Code. They were produced before the Borivili Metropolitan Magistrate Court on Wednesday and were remanded to police custody till June 25.
“Cable theft is nothing new, but in recent times, it has gone beyond control. The MTNL faces a lot of problems because of such thefts. Due to such incidents, rival companies are benefited. Recently, owing to the bad connections caused due to cable thefts, we lost several of our clients,” Division Engineer of MTNL (Borivli) Umakant Yadav said.