With Diwali round the corner, people are gearing up to meet the festive season head-on — including thieves, pick pockets and thugs. With the knowledge that the season of bounty ushered in by the festival, anti-social elements are drawn into the city like bears to honey.
However, city police armed from past experiences are on their toes looking out for such suspect characters that come to city from different parts of the state as well as country in search of fortune.
All temporary bases these people set up in city to strike ‘profitable’ deals from parked vehicles, locked houses, unsuspecting passengers, senior citizens and women are already on cop radar.
If the cops’ latest figure of around 30 theft and loot incidents in last 3 days is any indication, some of the gangs have already arrived and have already begun their biz targeting every part of the city.
Under various novel and innovative modus operandi, thieves have already amassed booty worth more than Rs30 lakh including cash, jewelry, valuables and vehicles, in last 3 days from the city.
Police claim these ‘Diwali specialists’ come from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Dahod, Godhara, Panchmahals, Maharashtra and southern Indian states to encash the festive mood. According to police, MP, Rajasthan and other tribal areas’ gangs target locked houses for the kill, while southern states’ ones specialise in distracting people and snatching bags from vehicles.
“Diwali is also vacation time and gangs from tribal areas and adjoining states activate their network of informers to know about locked houses. Informers are mainly domestic helps, who share their inputs at tea stalls. Based on information, housebreak-ins take place from which, the domestic help too gets a cut of the ill-gotten gains without direct involvement. After collecting enough booty, these gangs vanish into the dark, even before the festival of light ends,” said a police official of western part of the city, who has caught several such notorious domestic helps in the past.
During Diwali, people usually carry considerable amount of cash and the markets are usually crowded with shoppers. Gangs from southern states take advantage of this to target people and steal valuables from crowded places by distracting them.
“They (gang) keep a watch on car owners outside malls, banks and other public places. As soon as a owner opens his car door and puts his bag inside the cars, a member of the gang either throws a currency note on the road or smears mud on the owner’s shirt. As soon as the person’s attention is diverted, another member quickly vanishes with the bag, as the owner in most of these cases keep the car door open,” said another official, who believe that gangs targeting auto passengers also come from outside.
“These gangs come for a short spell, hire an auto for the limited period and win confidence of their passengers. They mostly target women and senior citizens, who they find easy to distract.
Some gang members, who pose as co-passengers, even use hypnotism to steal valuables from bags” the official claimed.