Mumbai Crime: With gang dividing loot at crime scene, cops manage to solve theft in 30 mins

After bag with Rs 1 lakh cash and gold jewellery is flicked at Bandra station, alert mom relies on 'Mission' brand tag on haversack to nail thieves; Government Railway Police catch gang of four accused sharing spoils; a hunt is on for the fifth

Bandra GRP officers, including investigating officer API Navanath Rupwate (centre), show the recovered bag
Bandra GRP officers, including investigating officer API Navanath Rupwate (centre), show the recovered bag

They were on a mission, to find 'Mission', and it took them all of half-an-hour to locate it. The Bandra Government Railway Police (GRP) yesterday located a stolen backpack, stuffed with cash and gold ornaments, in 30 minutes flat, while also managing to nab four of the five thieves who had flicked it from a Santacruz resident who was travelling with her baby. Their only clue – the word Mission printed across the bag.

The four accused keep a watch on the woman, carrying a backpack stuffed with cash and valuables, and her son, at Bandra station’s platform 5
The four accused keep a watch on the woman, carrying a backpack stuffed with cash and valuables, and her son, at Bandra station’s platform 5. Illustrations/Uday Mohite

THE incident happened on Wednesday at 11.45 am when Sachita Mungle (25) and her son Soham (5) were waiting for a Churchgate fast on platform 5 at Bandra station. The backpack she was carrying had R1 lakh in cash and her gold chain and earrings amounting to R42,000. When Soham, who was playing on the platform, ran a few metres away from her, she, in an attempt to catch him, removed the bag from her shoulders and kept it on the ground. As she caught hold of Soham and turned back to pick up the bag, she noticed it was gone.

When the five-year-old, starts running away from her, she puts the bag down and rushes to catch hold of him. Illustration/ Uday MohiteWhen the five-year-old, starts running away from her, she puts the bag down and rushes to catch hold of him. Illustration/ Uday Mohite

“The woman raised an alarm, and fellow commuters rushed to help her. They guided her to the Bandra GRP office. She brought the matter to the notice of assistant inspector Navanath Rupwate, who immediately launched a search for the bag,” said senior inspector, Bandra GRP, Sunil Tondvalkar.

In those few seconds, the accused make their move — one goes to pick up the bag, while the others cover him, blocking him from the womans view
In those few seconds, the accused make their move — one goes to pick up the bag, while the others cover him, blocking him from the woman's view

He questioned a few commuters at the spot about whether they had seen anyone walking away with a black-and-yellow bag. Some told him about seeing four men walking with that bag towards Bandra East station exit. “We rushed to the spot and saw four people with the bag counting the booty. My team quickly detained them and took the bag. It took 30 minutes to crack the case,” he said. The police managed to recover R38,000. The four accused, identified as Altaf Khan (45), Abdul Shaikh (30), Raju Das (28) and Gopal Jha (19), were taken to the police station and arrested under sections 379 (theft) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

She grabs her son and turns around to take the bag, realising it’s gone; in that short span of time, the accused have left the platformShe grabs her son and turns around to take the bag, realising it’s gone; in that short span of time, the accused have left the platform

When questioned, the four told the police that their fifth accomplice had fled with the rest of the money. The accused were produced in Bandra court on Wednesday and sent to judicial custody.

The accused: Raju Das, Gopal Jha, Altaf Khan and Abdul Shaikh
The accused: Raju Das, Gopal Jha, Altaf Khan and Abdul Shaikh

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