Mumbai: At least 250 devotees, who had gathered in Lalbaug for one more glimpse of Lalbaugcha Raja, on Thursday found themselves richly blessed but poorer in the pocket, as their mobile phones were stolen.
By end of the day, as reports of theft started trickling in, the number of mobiles reported missing was well beyond the 250-mark, forcing Kalachowkie Police to set up a separate counter for registering these complaints.
However, the police and Unit 6 of the crime branch had modicum of success, arresting at least 13 thieves and recovering 22 mobile phones and a gold chain from them.
"We have arrested Monu Yadav, 22, and Akash Shankarwar, 22, both from Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh and recovered 13 mobiles; nine mobiles were recovered from Akbar Mirza, 20, Navgan Chavhan, 29 and Rohit Jadhav,19," said an officer from the Kalachowkie police station.
Unit 6 officers had received a tip-off about a gang fleeing from the city after snatching devotees' belongings in the Lalbaugcha Raja procession. Accordingly, they laid a trap at Lotus Junction in Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd, and asked the men, who were in an SUV, to stop but the latter tried to flee. They were chased down and eight of them were detained.
During interrogation, the men confessed to having picked pockets and stolen the valuables of devotees during the procession on Thursday. Later, they were handed over to Kalachowkie Police.
According to the crime branch, this gang targets crowded events like religious processions and political rallies. "We have found a diary from an accused which has a mention of an upcoming political rally in Beed," said an officer.
By SACHIN GAAD