The Navi Mumbai Crime Branch’s Unit II has solved at least 20 cases of chain snatching with the arrest of five people. Valuables worth ₹20 lakh have been recovered.
Of the 45 cases of chain snatching registered in the last 10 months at Kamothe, Nerul, Sanpada, Rabale, NRI Coastal, Khandeshwar, Kalamboli, Vashi and Kharghar police stations, 33 have now been detected.
The accused have been identified as Shabnam Shabbir Shaikh (25), a hawker; Akhil Shareef Khan (25), a taxi driver; Haroon Lala Sayyed (23), an autorickshaw driver from Panvel; Tabbeer Mohammad Ibraheem Shaikh alias Deepak (22), and Tashroof Baidoor Rahman Shaikh alias Raja (22) from Mankhurd. According to the police, the four men rode two bikes and targeted elderly women in secluded spots soon after the lockdown was imposed.
The accused riding pillion would snatch the chain and the men on the other bike would give them cover. The men would hand over the loot to Ms. Shaikh, who would sell it and give each one their share.
Senior police inspector Giridhar Gore said the Crime Branch started a parallel investigation into these cases. “We started tracing the bikes and learnt that one of the accused was going to Kolkata by train along with a friend. We got the friend’s number and tracked his location to Bilaspur. Using the M-Indicator app, we found a train in the same location. With the help of the Railways, we found the coach in which the accused was travelling.”
Additional Commissioner of Police of Navi Mumbai B.G. Shekhar Patil, who served as an observer in the last election in Odisha, sought the help of the Odisha Police. The accused was detained at Rourkela railway station on November 11 and brought to Navi Mumbai. “He was arrested on November 13 and his accomplices were nabbed from Mankhurd the same day,” Mr. Gore said.
The accused have been remanded in custody till November 23.