Mumbai: Househelp with over 50 theft cases held

The Property Cell of Mumbai Crime Branch arrested a 38-year-old woman for stealing valuables posing as a domestic help. The accused Vanita Gaikwad has over 50 such cases registered against her. She usually targets upscale buildings in Mumbai, the police said.

In the latest offence, Gaikwad had allegedly decamped with Rs 10,000 cash and $2,500 (Rs 1,95,000 in total) from a house in Juhu, where she had been working for 15 days. During investigation, the Property Cell identified the accused to be Gaikwad and started searching for her. The police initially searched her previous addresses. However, she continued to change her location. Finally, they managed to nab her from Vikhroli on Wednesday.

Explaining her modus operandi, Shashikant Pawar said, she generally chose upmarket residential areas and approached building watchmen, who generally knew whether anyone required domestic help. In case her employer asked for her documents for police verification, she would claim that her house has been demolished recently and would buy time. Within days of getting the job, she would escape with valuables.

Gaikwad, since 2003, has over 50 cases registered against her. Surat Police were also looking for her after she committed a couple of similar thefts there, said an officer.

After arrest, Gaikwad had a unique way of getting away with minor sentences. Whenever the cases would come up for hearing in court, she would confess to her crime before the judge and would claim she was forced to do all this just to make ends meet. This saved the advocate's fees as well as money for bail bonds, added an officer. The Property Cell has handed her to Juhu police station for further investigation.

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