The Khar police on Sunday afternoon arrested four members of a gang after they hoodwinked a cake shop owner in Bandra (W) of Rs 5,000 in the name of orphans after allegedly hypnotising him. The suspects were sporting turbans, cops said, to delude people into believing they were Sikhs, but the cops learned they were simply posing with the headgear.
According to the police, the arrested accused would go to shops and plush housing societies in the western suburbs, particularly apartments inhabited by senior citizens or women, and ask for donations supposedly meant for an orphanage. Once inside, they would make off with mobile phones and whatever valuables they could find in plain sight. The police are still looking into the extent of these crimes.
The suspects have been identified as Harjeet Singh Baljeet Singh Laanda (26), Trilok Singh Channa Singh Potliwala (20), Gurprit Singh Ladak (19) and Vicky Singh Rajusingh Potiwala (20), all from Kalina. Their caper came to light after they targeted the cake shop on Sunday. They confessed during interrogation that they were not Sikhs.
According to the police, the foursome visited the shop on Ambedkar Road in Bandra (West) around 10 am. They convinced the shop owner, Sachin Paldate, that they were collecting contributions for orphan children. “Paldate got ready to give them Rs 1,000, but they allegedly hypnotised him and under their spell, he kept giving them 500-rupee notes from his cash drawer, until he had parted with a total of Rs 5,000,” said sub-inspector Kelister D’Mello of Khar police station.
“They then moved on in search of other quarry and approached a neighbouring jewellery shop. But, in the meantime, Sachin got a call on his mobile and came back to his senses. He realised he had been duped. He quickly looked around and saw the four suspects going into the jewellery shop,” said a police officer. “He immediately informed the Khar police.
A team of cops on patrolling duty rushed to the spot and caught hold of the suspects. They have been arrested on the charge of cheating. We are questioning them to find out whether they have committed more such offences,” the officer said. One of the accused, Laanda, has been booked for a similar crime in Dadar. “It is suspected that others may be involved in the racket,” he added.