Mumbai: A gang of inter-district vehicle thieves has been busted with eight of its members arrested by Mumbai police on Friday. Two more accused are still at large. Their main targets were old models of Mahindra Bolero pickup vans. Till now they claim to have stolen 30 such vehicles but none of these have been recovered as all these pick up vans have been scrapped in Dhule district.
The matter came to light after a tempo owner registered a first information report (FIR) at MIDC police station on July 8 after which the anti-vehicle theft squad began probing the case. The tempo owner, in his complaint, has claimed that the price of his tempo was Rs7lakh. Acting on a tip off, the investigators first detained 26-year-old prime accused Sujeet Sriram Gaund from Malad (East) and he was later arrested on Saturday
“During interrogation he confessed to his crime but did not reveal the names of his accomplices who assisted him in stealing the vehicles,” said an officer from MIDC police station. After studying Gaund’s call data record (CDR), a team of Mumbai police reached Maharashtra’s Dhule district where the gang used to sell the stolen vehicles to three men who would scrap these within two hours.
Two men, including Waseem Ahmed Hussain Shaikh alias Batla (30) and Afzal Hussain alias Mohd Khan alias Babubhai were arrested from Dhule district, whereas Anil Raman Ghodke (51) was held from Jalgaon district. The MIDC police also arrested Abhay Kishan Patil alias Barkya (25), Sunil Ramashray Sharma alias Guddu (25) and Shakti Mahendra Singh (21) and Arman Kismatali Khan (23) from Nalasopara. “They are all tempo drivers who used to steal vehicles under the direction of mastermind Gaund,” said the officer.
Their details have been sent to various police stations of Mumbai, including Mulund, Ghatkopar, Sakinaka, Malad, Dahisar, Borivali and adjoining areas like Nalasopara, Vasai and Virar from where they have stolen vehicles.
“With the help of a master key, they used to steal the old models of Mahindra Bolero pick up vans parked in the wee hours (between 3 and 4:30am) when the guards are generally asleep. Taking advantage of smooth traffic in the wee hours, these tempo drivers would then take these stolen vehicles to Dhule district, abandon them near a toll naka from where Batla and Babubhai would drive to scrap these vehicles,” said the officer.