Armed with more than 1,000 keys, three locksmiths, for the past two years, managed to get away with valuables from houses in west Delhi, under the pretext of “fixing almirah locks”. Police said they would discreetly loot the safe and leave a broken key inside the keyhole, so that the owners would not be able to open the safe immediately and realise they had been robbed.
Their luck ran out on September 26 when they were nabbed by the Special Staff (west) unit of Delhi Police at Shivaji Park Metro station. They have been identified as Narender, Gurbir Singh and Parkash Singh. Police recovered more than 1,000 keys and several instruments used to pry open locks.
“The accused were identified on the basis of CCTV footage and an informer identified them. They were on a scooter at the traffic intersection near Shivaji Park Metro station when we spotted and nabbed them,” the officer said.
The three men were in the pork meat business but turned to crime after recurring losses.
After a spate of thefts with a similar modus operandi, the case was handed over to Surinder Sandhu, the inspector in-charge of the Special Staff, who had studied more than three dossiers on similar crimes in west district. After talking to nine complainants in the case, they found that the accused used to operate between noon and 1 pm.
“We had deputed our staff at strategic points in west district, and within a week, we managed to identify the accused,” said DCP (west) Vijay Kumar.
“After they were arrested, they kept saying that they ‘did not understand Hindi’ and that it was their first time in Delhi,” said a police officer.
Police said the accused tried to divert police’s attention as they wanted to waste time. The other gang members were told that if they did not return by 7 pm, it would mean that they have been arrested. “All of them stayed at a hotel in Paharganj. When their associates would not return within the said time, they would flee Delhi,” the officer added.
Police reached the hotel around 8.30 pm and found that the remaining gang members had fled. Police, however, added that raids are underway to identify and arrest the other members of the gang.