The Malad police on Tuesday busted a gang of three for disguising themselves as ‘dirty laborers’ with the intention of pickpocketing money and mobile phones of the passengers traveling in BEST Buses.
The matter came to light when one of such passengers lost his Rs. 13,500 which he had kept as admission fees in his pants pocket. The incident happened on Tuesday when the complainant was traveling in a BEST bus from Malad to Kandivali – and noticed the missing money from his pocket. After noticing a ‘labour’ looking co-passenger behaving suspiciously and approaching him – he was pushed to the ground, after which the accused fled the spot.
While looking into the matter, the Malad police discovered that such incidents are happening rather frequently around. While tracing one of them by using footage from CCTV cameras and gathering his identification from the complainant, two more persons with similar modus operandi were found and arrested by the police. The first accused, Rajaram Ramdas Patil, popularly known as Raja, is known to be the leader of the gang and has over 20 plus cases of theft against him in other police stations in Mumbai.
The second and third accused are Manoj Indrapal Vishwakarma (52) and Mahadev Vasant Mane (35). While Manoj has over 8 theft cases against him, Mahadev has 3 similar cases in various police stations in Mumbai.
After nabbing the three accused, the police manage to recover Rs. 9,000 of the money the complainant lost.
The Malad police suspect this to be a bigger gang who are into the same business – of pickpocketing money and smartphones from passengers traveling in public buses.
“We are investigating the matter to find out other members of the gang, which we suspect has more than one wanted criminal. We are interrogating the accused to find more and keeping an eye on similar MO in the city,” confirmed senior police inspector Dhananjay Ligade of Malad Police Station.