After two juveniles were apprehended for snatching mobile phones from Lutyens’ Delhi, Delhi Police has shed light on a new kind of modus operandi: One wherein criminals “hire” unemployed youths and provide them a “target” for the number of mobile phones they are supposed to snatch per week.
Police told The Indian Express that the youths were apprehended from near Mandir Marg while they were riding a motorbike, looking for a ‘target’.
They told police that they worked for a resident of old Delhi. They also said that they were given weekly targets, and paid on the basis of the quantity and quality of mobile phones they snatched. Police said the man who hired them sold the mobile phones to different parts of the country.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) B K Singh confirmed the incident, saying, “A new trend has been noticed in the city. This is not the first time we have come across such a case.”
Sources said the juveniles gave their employer over a dozen phones on two occasions, and got Rs 8,000 in return. “We are not sure of what happened with the mobiles, but suspect that they were sold either in Nepal or in the Northeast,” said a police source.
Police said that criminals have been targeting youths living in low-income areas and JJ clusters. “They train these youths, mostly minors, on how to snatch mobiles and flee the spot. They also tell them where exactly to dump stolen mobiles. Many of them join because it is a way to make easy money,” said a police source.
“Those either on foot or travelling in autos and rickshaws are most vulnerable. While three- wheelers often get stuck in traffic, the snatchers come on a motorcycle or scooter, snatch phones, and disappear,” said the officer.
A police officer from south Delhi said they have identified two gangs that operate in Sangam Vihar and Tigri and are involved in luring youths. Police said the groups have often clashed over who gets to control what area. A majority of members in both gangs are teenagers, police said.