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Mumbai: Aspiring cop becomes chain-snatcher

Updated on: 07 February,2024 07:13 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Diwakar Sharma |

Police say he used the proceeds of crime for lavish parties with girlfriend

Mumbai: Aspiring cop becomes chain-snatcher

Amit Natthu Shanvar, 29 (in blue T-shirt)

Key Highlights

  1. A bike-borne chain snatcher has been arrested by the Crime Branch of MBVV police
  2. The accused aspired to join the police force but was unable to pass the recruitment exams
  3. Four back-to-back chain snatching incidents had rocked the Vasai-Virar region

A bike-borne chain snatcher, who had terrorised locals in Vasai-Virar areas over the last two months, has been arrested by the Crime Branch of Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV) police. The accused, Amit Natthu Shanvar, 29, aspired to join the police force but was unable to pass the recruitment exams last year in Mumbai.

Four back-to-back chain snatching incidents had rocked the Vasai-Virar region where women wearing jewellery had become afraid to step out after sunset. Shanvar, who worked in a beer shop in Vasai where he had rented a flat, had been on a looting spree for his lavish pre-wedding parties and big wedding plans with his girlfriend whom he started dating recently.

Crime Branch officials told mid-day that, unlike other chain snatchers, Shanvar would always target women who were riding scooters. “His modus operandi was particularly alarming because the victims were at the risk of losing their balance, potentially resulting in permanent injury or even fatalities, as their gold chains or mangalsutras were snatched with force,” said a Crime Branch officer from MBVV police.

The bike he used for the crimes. Pic/Hanif Patel
The bike he used for the crimes. Pic/Hanif Patel

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Avinash Ambure asked his men to remain alert and conduct investigations parallel to Arnala, Virar and Nalasopara police stations where the chain-snatching cases had been registered since December. The crime branch unit 3, led by inspector Pramod Badakh managed to arrest him on February 1. The cops said that Shanvar belongs to the Varli tribe and is a native of Talasari in Dahanu taluka of Palghar district.

How he was caught

“Shanvar would always commit the offence after sunset, late in the evening when the vehicles’ headlamps blind the lenses of CCTV cameras installed along the road. He would always wear a helmet to avoid being recognised. He would first ride parallel to his victim’s two-wheeler to understand what ornaments she was wearing and then strike along a dark or dimly lit stretch,” said another officer.

“As there was no CCTV footage to give a clear picture, we pieced together evidence using multiple footage and traced the accused in Vasai West where he was living in a rented accommodation,” said the added. With the arrest of Shanvar, the crime branch has recovered gold worth R4.38 lakh from his possession and all the victims have been contacted by the police. The victims have been asked to submit the bills of their ornaments to claim the stolen jewellery through legal means.

Four incidents in two months

Shanvar first snatched a heavy mangalsutra of 42-year-old Shreeshaha Bontu near Yazoo Park in Virar West on December 17. She was alone on her scooter along a dark patch when Shanvar followed her on his sports bike and snatched the chain before disappearing in the dark. “It was really good news for us. A Crime Branch officer from MBVV police called up and informed us that the accused had been arrested. It was unbelievable. The mangalsutra was very expensive. I thanked MBVV police,” said Bontu’s husband Anilkumar.

Nearly a month after the first incident, Shanvar robbed Neeta Ladi, 38, in Virar West on January 13. “I had lost all hope. I am very thankful to the crime branch. We have submitted our jewellery bill to the Crime Branch office for the legal process to get our jewellery back,” Ladi told mid-day. The third chain-snatching incident took place in Virar West on January 25, when 28-year-old Jyoti Jain lost her mangalsutra worth Rs 1 lakh.

“Hats off to Crime Branch officers for catching him. I saw cops working around the clock and they had scanned CCTV footage in the area but the snatcher was nowhere in the footage. Still, they worked hard and caught him. I would request shopkeepers and housing societies to install at least one CCTV camera for your city’s benefit. This will really speed up the detection rate,” Jain told mid-day. The fourth chain-snatching took place on Jan 30 when Priyanka Manna, 37, lost her gold chain worth Rs 30,000 while she was on a motorcycle.

Rs 4.38 lakh
Value of gold police recovered

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