A gang of five motorcycle thieves involved in the theft of 203 motorcycles in Bangalore over the last five years have been arrested by the JJ Nagar police. A former broker at a Regional Transport Office (RTO) who accumulated huge assets in recent years was named as the leader of the gang by the police following the arrests.
The accused persons were identified as Yogaraj alias Raj (34) of Agrahara Dasarahalli in West Bangalore, a former RTO broker and his associates Mohammed Sadiq (21), Mubaraq (19), Salman (20) and Irfan (19), all residents of JJ Nagar. Police have seized 203 motorcycles worth more than Rs one crore following the arrest of the gang, police commissioner M N Reddi said.
The ring leader of the gang Yogaraj had accumulated wealth including four residential sites and half an acre of land on the outskirts of the city by selling stolen motorcycles, police said.
The gang stole motorcycles from across Bangalore preferring Hero Honda Splendor variants in particular on account of their resale value in small towns around Karnataka. Police said that Yogaraj forged documents for the vehicles stolen by his associates and sold them at Hassan, Hospet, Chikamagalur, Mandya, Kolar and the Bangalore rural district for prices between Rs 15,000 to Rs 32,000. Yogaraj also sold motorcycles through online second hand goods sites, police said.
A native of Savanadurga some 60 km from Bangalore Yogaraj moved to Bangalore eight years ago and worked as a broker at the Rajajinagar RTO office where learnt that he could easily forge a vehicle registration certificate. He decided to build a criminal business by forging documents of stolen vehicles and selling them in the second hand market, police said.
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He allegedly struck up a partnership with Sadiq whom he met at a spare parts shop in Shivajinagar area. Sadiq and his team stole motorcycles and handed them over to Yogaraj for disposal with fake documents, police said.
Yogaraj maintained a dairy where he noted down the contact numbers of all the customers whom he had sold stolen motorcycles in an effort to avoid establishing contacts again with them. The seizure of the diary has now helped the police establish the extent of the motorcycle theft racket run by the former RTO broker.
“Yogaraj collected the registration numbers of genuine motorcycles by visiting parking spots in Bangalore. He then approached automated vehicle information centers and collected the details of the owners into order to create a forged documents for the stolen vehicles. The basic information he obtained about the genuine owner was used to create a fake RC Book and other documents,” Bangalore police commissioner M N Reddi said. As many as 40 fake RC books were even converted into smart cards. “All the stolen vehicles were sold with the forged documents in rural areas and especially to farmers,” the police commissioner said.