Less than a fortnight after he duped a Vasai-based businessman engaged in the business of renting out cameras in Vasai, the accused landed into the custody of the Manekpur police on Saturday. The accused who has been identified as- Siddesh Sunil Mahale turned out to be a habitual offender inter-state offender involved in a spate of similar crimes in Mumbai, Thane, Navi-Mumbai Nagpur, Pune, Baramati, Surat (Gujarat), Delhi, Goa and Raipur (Chhattisgarh).
In his complaint to the police, the 28-year-old businessman had stated that he had placed an advertisement on a popular search engine offering a range of high definition Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras on a rental basis. Soon, he got a call from a person who identified himself as Yogesh and was in need of a camera-on-rent for three days. The complainant agreed to the rental deal, however the accused fled with the DSLR camera and lens worth more than Rs.3.15 lakh.
Based on technical surveillance, the crime detection unit laid a trap and apprehended the accused from Mumbai. After rounds of sustained interrogation, the accused admitted to the crimes. Explaining his modus-operandi, investigating officials said that the accused procured sim cards from Orissa and opened accounts on a popular e-commerce portal using fake aliases on fabricated identification documents. He would then establish contact with advertisers who offered their DSLR cameras on rental hire basis.
After paying a nominal rent he would flee with the gadgets and later sell them at much lower prices. The police have recovered several high end DSLR’s and lens worth more than Rs. 25 lakh from the possession of the accused who has been booked under section 406 and 420 of the IPC. Thanks to the lack of a proper verification process, online search engines and e-commerce merchant websites continue to be valuable assets for fraudsters to source out business details and contact information in context to their potential targets.