In the dead of the night, aboard stolen two-wheelers, three armed assailants have zipped across the capital in the last one month, robbing men and women of several lakhs at gunpoint.
With their arrest pending, the Delhi Police has so far joined the dots between at least 25 robberies since May-end. Complainants have given some hints about their get-up: One wears a black t-shirt, a pair of sports shoes, a cap with a Mercedes car logo, and another a cap that says NY (for New York).
CCTV footage collected from Patel Nagar, Model Town, New Friends Colony, Pandav Nagar and Adarsh Nagar corroborates this, and shows two of the men with their faces covered with a cloth, and the third wearing a helmet. “Incidents with the same pattern have been reported in Rani Bagh, Model Town, Sarai Rohilla, NFC, Pandav Nagar, Keshavpuram, Adarsh Nagar, and Patel Nagar,” an officer said.
Police has also established a unique pattern. “They steal a two-wheeler from a place and then use that to conduct the next robbery and then leave that there. For instance, a scooter they stole from New Friends Colony was found at Rani Bagh, where they conducted two robberies,” said a senior officer.
During investigation, police found that all incidents took place between 2 am and 4.45 am, and they targeted people walking near their homes. “It started from North West district when it came to light that three armed assailants had committed a string of robberies. These incidents forced police to deploy personnel in plainclothes and fix night duty. Following this, they managed to arrest six similar gangs, but the three men remained at large,” an officer said.
“The situation escalated when police received complaints that three armed assailants had struck in Keshavpuram, Model Town and Adarsh Nagar,” the officer said.
On June 26, a couple returned from vacation to their Patel Nagar home. “Around 3 am, they came out of the cab and were paying the driver when three men approached and robbed them of their phone and cash at gunpoint. The incident was captured on CCTV,” the officer said.
Around 4 am on June 26, the men committed two more robberies in Rani Bagh, leaving their two-wheeler before escaping. “We have registered two separate FIRs of robbery and further investigations are on,” said DCP (Outer district) Seju P Kuruvilla.
Police suspect the three allegedly robbed a wedding decorator in Pandav Nagar around 2.30 am on June 30. The complainant, Hukum Chand, alleged the three men held him at gunpoint and stole his wallet, car keys, phone, a gold chain and Rs 23,000. DCP (East district) Jasmeet Singh confirmed that an FIR has been filed.
Police said that around 3 am the same night, a businessman and his wife were robbed in Model Town when they pulled their Mercedes into their home’s private parking. The complainant Varun Bahl (35), his wife Nupur and their seven-year-old son and four-year-old daughter were returning from a relative’s home in Greater Kailash when the incident took place. “At gunpoint, they stole Rs 19,000, mobile phones and a gold bracelet,” said Vijayanta Arya, DCP (North-West).
Police said that after robbing the family, they were escaping when they came across police deployment. “The men fired shots at police and the policemen retaliated. The robbers then left their bike and fled the spot. It later came to light that the bike had been stolen from Pandav Nagar,” the officer said.
Days later, on July 2, three armed assailants barged into a 24×7 medical store in New Friends Colony around 3.40 am and robbed the cashier of Rs 1.2 lakh at gunpoint.