A school dropout. An expert. A super-thief.
Mohali police on Tuesday said that notorious thief Ravi alias Pujari — who has been booked in 35 cases lodged in Panchkula, Chandigarh, Mohali and Pinjore — was cautious in what he did and never left a trace behind.
The police, after arresting Ravi on Monday and interrogating him, said that the accused so far had revealed his involvement in at least 10 thefts that took place in Mohali. Police have so far determined that Pujari used to work alone and had no aides.
A police officer, who interrogated Pujari, told The Indian Express on Tuesday that the accused had studied upto Class 3 and then dropped out of school to take up petty jobs.
The officer added that Ravi started carrying out thefts in 2014 and was first arrested in 2015. He was subsequently arrested for a second time in 2020.
Explaining the modus-operandi of the accused, the officer said that during interrogation so far, Ravi had claimed that he used to act alone. Police have recovered an iron rod which the man used to break the locks of the gates.
Prodded about how Ravi broke the digital locks, the officer said that the accused smashed them open with an iron rod.
On how the accused identified targets, the officer said Ravi had told them that he would often disguise himself as a priest and go and conduct pooja at the houses of residents during the daytime.
During the poojas, he would eavesdrop on the conversation of people around him and know when and if the house would be empty and target it.
“In the case of theft that had taken place at businessman Sanjeev Garg’s house, Ravi had heard Garg’s name while performing pooja at some other person’s residence. He figured that Garg lived somehwere in Phase 2. Later, he looked Sanjeev Garg up on the Internet, located his address and carried out the theft,” the officer said.
Ravi, police said, had also heard about former cabinet minister Balbir Singh Sidhu and had attempted to carry out a theft at his residence also. However, his plan was foiled after one of the security guards on duty had woken up.
Prodded about what he did with the stolen valuables, the officer said that Ravi had told them that he never sold anything at jewellery shops, fearing that the jewellers might alert the police. Instead, he got the stolen jewellery exchanged for new ones at jewellery shops and got receipts for the same, thereby making the whole transaction legal.
“He told us that he used to exchange the jewellery. For example, in exchange of a diamond set he would get some gold rings, chains or a small amount of cash. He would take receipts for such transactions. Later, he would sell the new jewellery that he obtained with the help of receipts, thereby avoiding suspicion,” the officer told The Indian Express.
Ravi also used specific timings for carrying out his thefts, striking between 4 am and 5 am on most occasions.
The police said that Ravi has been sent to three-days of police custody and is being further interrogated.