Watch Video: Gang of child thieves steals at wedding in South Mumbai
After having made their hauls at weddings in the suburbs, the gang of child thieves has now started targeting wedding venues in south Mumbai. A girl and boy, possibly a brother-sister duo, struck at a banquet hall in Dadar, scooting with a bag full of ornaments worth Rs 1.5 lakh last week.
The brother-sister duo enter the Dadar wedding hall and walk up to the stage with ease
mid-day had reported in December about the gang of child thieves who had come to the city from Madhya Pradesh (MP) and had been targeting wedding functions in the northern part of the city i.e. Malad, Kandivli. Police suspected that several such children had arrived from a village in MP with their parents to steal during the wedding season.
The girl takes the bag from her younger sibling in the staircase
One such brother-sister duo had featured in the December robberies: the elder sister, around 15 years old, kept watch on other guests while the young boy, around 10 years of age, pretended to play with the other children and picked up a bag on the sly.
The duo makes a clean exit with the loot
The duo then made a quiet exit from the venue with their loot. Cops had managed to arrest them and their parents then. Last week, another brother-sister pair visited one Suryavanshi Marriage Hall in Dadar (West). The girl is less than 15 years of age while the boy is barely 10. Surveillance systems captured their entry, exit and the act of thievery itself, and the modus operandi is very similar.
mid-day’s coverage of the gang’s activities
The duo is seen entering the wedding hall without any hassles. According to the Shivaji Park police, the girl kept watch on a bag containing cash and jewellery which had been given as a gift. She had conducted a recce of the area to zone in on her target, and perched herself upon a front row seat near the stage. Meanwhile, the boy played with the other children near the stage.
As soon as the girl deemed it right, she signalled to the boy who swiftly picked up the bag and left, with the girl in tow. The CCTV footage shows the girl taking the bag from her brother in the staircase and both of them fleeing the venue. The robbed bag contained valuables and cash worth Rs 1.50 lakh.
Anil Jadhav, assistant police inspector, Shivaji Park police station, said, “The kids are very well-trained. At this very young age, they know how to steal. Within a few minutes, they left the hall with valuables worth lakhs. The gang was very active in the suburbs and is now targeting the south region (of the city). We have registered a case and are investigating for clues.”
Police are now asking guests and family members at wedding halls to take precautions and be very alert, and have also requested them to make regular announcements during the ceremony asking people to take care of their belongings.
Shivaji Park police officials have started sending a circular to marriage halls in their area. “We have sent a one page circular to all marriage halls in Dadar, asking them to beware of this children’s gang. We request people in these halls to watch out for unknown people.
Please keep tab on kids playing alone. If children are alone, ask for their parents,” said a Shivaji Park police official. Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police and spokesperson for Mumbai Police, said, “All police stations where such incidents have occurred and nearby police stations should take action by spreading awareness in marriage halls.
Officials should visit marriage halls and ask (people) to take precautions and make announcements due to the increasing number of such incidents.”