Navi Mumbai: Wanted thief sticks head out of auto to spit, gets identified and arrested

Updated: Aug 26, 2019, 14:55 IST | Anurag Kamble

The accused, Murli Nagraj, 34, would usually lurk around the area in the wee hours of the day and then break into homes and steal whatever he could.

This picture has been used for representational purpose
This picture has been used for representational purpose

The Vashi police have arrested a 34-year-old man, accused of house theft in Navi Mumbai, while he was travelling in an autorickshaw and stuck his head out in order to spit.

The accused, Murli Nagraj, 34, would usually lurk around the area in the wee hours of the day and then break into homes and steal whatever he could. The police have recovered property worth Rs 23 lakh and expect to retrieve more.

There were reports of a thief stealing from houses across Navi Mumbai since the past year. The thief would usually commit the crime in residences from Vashi to Nerul. The one thing in common was the time of the robberies. The police then began to scan CCTV footage and also took down detailed statements of security guards and around 20 other people.

Senior Police Inspector of the Vashi police station, Anil Deshmukh then formed a special team which was led by Inspector Sanjeev Dhumal. After months of pursuing the thief, cops finally managed to zero in on one accused after scanning CCTV footage as well as speaking to a few witnesses.

"After questioning around 100 people, we zeroed down to one person who was the prime suspect in these robberies. We created a special team of night patrolling officers who would mainly patrol during early hours of the day, between 5 am to 8 am," said Inspector Sanjeev Dhumal.

On August 13, Sub Inspector Sopan Rakhonde, part of the team patrolling in the residential area, spotted a person sticking his head out an autorickshaw and spitting. "He immediately managed to identify the person as the prime accused and alerted the team. They then chased down the auto for about 500 metres and managed to nab the suspect. During the investigation, he was identified as Murli Nagraj," added Inspector Dhumal.

During the interrogation, Murli revealed about all the property he stole during the last year. He was residing with his wife in the slum area of Indira Nagar at Turbhe Naka. Cops recovered several mobile phones, diamond-studded jewellery, golden ornaments and laptops worth a total of Rs 23 lakh and 20 thousand from his home in Navi Mumbai as well as from Bhadravati, Karnataka and Vellore and Tamil Nadu. Apart from this, cops also managed to seize two laptops and 20 mobile phones from him.

“The accused was very sharp and knew how to target a particular house. He would never break open any door or window but just sneak into the house during the wee hours. We have managed to detect seven such cases (3 in Vashi, 3 in NRI and 1 in Sanpada).

Also Read: Mumbai Crime: Man steals from employer, fakes a flash rob in Santacruz

"He was very particular in locating his target house. He never broke open any door or window just used to sneak into house which is opened during wee hours. Till now we have managed to detect 7 cases from him (Vashi – 3, NRI – 3, Sanpada – 1). We intend to get him to reveal about more property stolen during our investigation," said Inspector Dhumal. The accused is currently in police custody.

Also Read: On the run for over 8 years, proclaimed offender arrested in New Delhi

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