They would get one of their accomplices to call on the victim’s phone, would then move away to get ‘a better signal’ and coolly walk off with the phone
A gang of mobile phone thieves, who used a unique modus operandi to con their victims, were nabbed by the Vile Parle police last week. The gang was busted when an alert citizen who was to have been their next victim, got suspicious and lodged a complaint with the police who laid a trap.
The gang used an ingenious modus operandi. They scanned the newspaper for advertisements and then contacted the advertisers on the pretext of offering them business. When a member of the gang arrived to meet the advertiser, another gang member called up on the advertiser’s mobile phone and asked for his colleague. When the phone was handed over to the thief, he would move away on the pretext that the signal was weak. He would then walk away with the phone.
The matter came to light when Abhay Kulkarni, the organiser of an orchestra under the banner ‘Swar Maaze Julti’ approached the police with a complaint. On February 1, a man who identified himself as Vijay Deshpande called on Kulkarni’s mobile, which had been advertised in some local papers. He said he wanted to book Kulkarni’s orchestra and offered him Rs 50,000 for the show. On February 5, Deshpande called again and asked Kulkarni to meet him near Vakola Masjid. Kulkarni suspected foul play and lodged a complaint with the police who laid a trap. At around 9:15 pm on February 6, Deshpande turned up to meet Kulkarni. While the two were talking, someone called on Kulkarni’s mobile and asked to speak to Deshpande. When the phone was handed over to him, Deshpande moved away saying the signal was not clear. As he tried to flee, he was nabbed by the police.
Interrogations led to a Raju Roy, who had called Deshpande, whose real name is Mandar Acharya. The duo’s arrest led the cops to their accomplices Santosh Jadhav, Kiran Jain, Pukhraj Jain, and Pratap Bhanushali. The cops also seized 47 mobile phones from them. The quartet has been arrested under Sections 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and has been remanded to police custody till February 16. “I would like to appeal to the public to come forward and complain about such incidents in the police station to enable us to crackdown on such miscreants,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shashikant Shinde said.
• The gang would scan newspapers for advertisements.
• They would then contact the advertisers on the pretext of offering them business.
• One member of the gang would then meet with the advertiser, usually the manager of an orchestra or a resort and pretend to hire the orchestra or the resort.
• While business was being discussed, another gang member would call up on the advertiser’s mobile phone and ask to speak to his accomplice.
• When the phone was added over to the thief, he would move away saying that signal was weak. He would then walk away with the phone.