Cops near the Lalbaugcha Raja mandap on September 22. Pic/Satej Shinde
A gang comprising a 20-year-old woman and three girls has been apprehended for stealing from devotees visiting Lalbaugcha Raja and Siddhivinayak temple. The woman, Rani Salunke, was arrested by the Shivaji Park police, and they successfully recovered a stolen gold chain from her. Her three accomplices were sent to a juvenile home as they were minors.
What has left the police concerned is that this incident appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Authorities have revealed that there are numerous small gangs, which include women, who travel from Gujarat with the sole purpose of stealing valuables from devotees.
The arrests were made when three sisters and a six-year-old girl visited Lalbaugcha Raja. At approximately 9.30 pm on Friday amidst a dense crowd, the group decided to take a taxi to Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi. Upon disembarking at Dadar bridge, they noticed two or three young girls following closely, raising suspicions. Later, the six-year-old girl informed her mother that her 10-gram gold chain was missing. Upon further inspection, the woman discovered that Rs 20,000 in cash was also gone. She promptly alerted a passing police patrol van and provided descriptions of the suspicious women and their clothing.
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Acting swiftly on the tip-off, the police apprehended the quartet in the vicinity. "The accused have admitted to stealing the complainant's gold chain and the complainant has identified the recovered property," said an officer from the Shivaji Park police. The police have warned that such gangs are actively operating in the area and have urged the public to exercise extra caution regarding their belongings when visiting crowded religious sites.