The crime branch of Pune police has arrested an “interstate” gang of five criminals who have committed about 146 chain snatchings in the city in 2013-14. The police have recovered gold ornaments worth Rs 80 lakh, besides a country made pistol, three live cartridges and two knives, from the suspects.
Acting on a tip-off received by Inspector Sunil Pawar of the crime branch (unit III), a team laid a trap near PCP College in Nigdi and nabbed the five suspects sitting in a car. They are Sajjad Garibshah Pathan alias Irani (29), Shabbir Miskin Shiakh alias Irani (24), Vivek Prabhakar Sasane Pathan (43), Aleem Shakeel Pathan (21), all from Shrirampur, Ahmednagar, and Salim Abdul Shaikh (32) of Bhusaval, Jalgaon.
During searches, the police team found 10 gold chains and eight rings in their possession. Interrogations revealed that the suspects had robbed the chains in Pune city between April 9 and 12, 2014.
Meanwhile, as firearms were also recovered from them, an offence of dacoity was registered against them at the Nigdi police station.
Further investigation revealed that the suspects committed as many as 146 chain snatchings and were involved in four cases of cheating while posing as policemen in 2013 and 2014 in different parts of the city. Police teams then arrested two jewellers for buying the stolen gold ornaments from them. They are Pravin Vishwasrao Kshetriya (46) of Ahmednagar and Manish Ramesh Wagh (41) of Nashik. Police teams recovered 2.242 kg of gold worth Rs 80 lakh from the suspects.
“The gang would come to Pune from Ahmednagar for four to five days. They used motorcycles and a car for committing chain snatchings. They also duped senior citizens in the guise of policemen. And, after committing the crimes they stayed at a plush lodge in Mahabaleshwar,” said Additional Commissioner (Crime) Shahji Solunkhe at a press conference.
“The suspects have committed crimes in the jurisdictions of most of the police stations under the Pune city police. Besides, they have also struck in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We suspect there are more people associated to this gang. The court has remanded them in police custody till April 28 for further investigation,” Solunkhe said.
Police Commissioner Satish Mathur appreciated the team’s work. According to the police, as many as 566 cases of chain snatching were reported in 2013, and 223 till March 31 this year.