Cops say thieves prefer these vehicles, as there is huge demand for them across various states and the city is a good hunting ground as they are in plentiful supply
If you are planning to purchase an SUV, think again. An RTI query filed by MiD DAY has revealed that four-wheelers like Tavera, Scorpio, Bolero and Innova top the list of the most popular vehicles preferred among the city’s car thieves.
Every year more than 3,000 vehicles are stolen from the city and driven to various parts of the country, which include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
fficials from the Motor Vehicle Theft (MVT) department, which was formed to trace stolen vehicles in the city, said it was a widespread network linked by seven to eight chains of gangs, till the vehicle reaches the final buyer.
According to the police officials, SUVs are in huge demand in Uttar Pradesh throughout the year. Gangs supply these vehicles not just to buyers in UP, but there is a demand in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu too.
“A gang based in Pratapgarh, UP, is the most active in stealing vehicles from the city. The gang members who have mastered the art of making duplicate keys work as taxi drivers in the day and keep a watch on vehicles parked in isolated areas,” said Assistant Sub-Inspector Sadanand Kokitkar from the MVT dept, adding, “The car thieves sell each of these vehicles for anything between Rs 50,000 to 70,000 based on the requirement of the buyers.”
For the last five to six years, the police department has noticed a remarkable increase in the number of vehicle thieves arriving in the city from the little known district of Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh.
Vehicles stolen in 2013
“A detailed interrogation of these thieves has revealed that the gang moves around with only a chaddi (trousers), banyan (vest), towel and tooth brush with them. They rent out small hutments in slum pockets across the city, and keep shifting their locations to avoid getting traced,” Kokitkar added.
>> Tavera, Scorpio, Bolero top the list of stolen vehicles
>> Most of the thieves are from Pratapgarh in UP
>> Work during the day as drivers, thieves at night
Gang of thieves
Police got to know of the modus operandi when they arrested Kurshid Ahmed alias Nisar in 2010. Ahmed had taken three houses on lease in the slums of Vashi and Mankhurd.
“When we raided the house, there were no other belongings apart from his shorts, banyan, towel and tooth brush. Ahmed, a native of Pratapgarh, during questioning revealed that he was a BEST employee and had quit the job to make a quick buck by stealing vehicles.
He was involved in more than 50 cases in Mumbai and its outskirts,” said Kokitkar. The others involved in the crime have been identified as Ayub Ali Mansoor Shaikh alias Guddu, a mechanic, who is involved in 40 cases and Muqeem alias Mumtaz Khan, who is involved in more than 50 cases. Irshan alias Munna is involved in 20 cases in Pune and Mumbai, while Afsar Ahmed alias Loha, is involved in 60 cases.
Number of police personnel dedicated to catching car thieves
Average selling price of a stolen vehicle