Mumbai: After an intense search for almost a month, Kurar police apprehended four people for allegedly cheating people and stealing their money from ATMs. Their modus was to carry a bundle of fake cash notes, get in line at the ATM under the pretext of depositing money, then initiate conversations with other people (victims). They pretended to help them with depositing the money, especially those who are first-timers or with little knowledge of the ATM machine. Ultimately, instead of depositing the cash, they kept it to themselves.
Mumbai Crime: Gang of four held for scamming people inside ATMs | FPJ
Gang consists to 15 to 17 persons
According to Kurar police, this gang contains of more than 15 to 17 people, out of which four have been held. The matter had first surfaced on May 16, when a 57-year-old Goregaon-based woman, Leela Dominic Xavier, approached the police. She had gone to an ATM in the Dindoshi area of Malad, where 2-3 people who were standing in the queue of the ATM offered to help her with depositing the money. Thinking they are good, helpful people, she let them help her but handing over Rs 50,000 cash that she wanted to deposit.
"They showed her by pressing some buttons and putting the money in. They kept on talking to her about random topics to divert her attention. Eventually, they told her money has been successfully deposited and out of three, two took her outside. Meanwhile, the third man canceled the deposit procedure and kept the money to himself," explained Pankaj Wankhede, assistant police inspector and the investigating officer in the case.
Areas where such crimes were reported
The police after registering a case, initiated the investigation during which they found similar crimes at other police stations with exact same modus. Namely at Matunga, Parksite, Worli, Byculla, Vasai, etc. Going through the records and CCTV footages from the crime scenes at different spots, police managed to get their facial features using which they started their search operation. After almost a month, they zeroed-in their location somewhere in Bhandup. "The accused kept moving from one place to another so we couldn't confirm their locations. But for the last 7 nights, their location ended up in Bhandup were we raided. However, many ran away and we could catch four of them," added Wankhede.
Police have found that they have carried out these types of crimes in several places including Mumbai, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Their stolen money ranges between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh from the victims, said the police who are currently trying to recover the stolen money from the accused.
The arrested accused are identified as Dharmveer Mehto, 32, Vivek Paswaan, 28, Birlal Saha, 23 - all residents of Bhandup. The fourth accused is Kishor Mahto, 27, resident of Bihar. The fifth wanted accused is Arun Prasad, also a resident of Bihar. Currently, the police is looking for the other unidentified gang members. All the arrested accused are remanded to police custody till Thursday.
A case of cheating under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against them.