The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 30 , 2014
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13 thieves, 25 bikes in net

East Singhbhum police have busted a huge gang of bike-lifters in Jamshedpur by arresting 13 people and seizing two truckloads of two-wheelers, the city’s biggest haul in recent memory acting as a fresh pointer to the rising crime graph.

The gang members, led by one Ajit Kumar Das of Birsanagar, were rounded up from various areas in Jamshedpur, Patamda and Lohardaga district over the past two days.

Based on the information provided by them during interrogations, police recovered 25 stolen bikes, which had been sold at throwaway prices, following a series of raids in the city and Lohardaga.

Finally, all 13 bike-lifters, aged between 19 and 25 years, were formally arrested on Tuesday. Of them, Ajit and 10 others — Rinku Nag, Saurabh Kumar Mahto, Mohan Mahali, Sanni Sonkar, Krishna Sonkar, Mahabir Lohar, Rahul Dev, Mohan Mukhi, Amit Mahto and Dinesh Kumar — are from Jamshedpur.

The remaining two — Bablu Lohar and Khokan Gorai — are from Lohardaga and Patamda, respectively.

Speaking about the breakthrough at a news conference, East Singhbhum senior superintendent of police (SSP) Amol V. Homkar said Ajit and his cronies had been operating in Jamshedpur for the past six months, the period coinciding with a sudden spurt in two-wheelers thefts.

“Taking note of the rise in vehicle missing cases, we set up a team to look for clues about any bike-lifters’ gang operating in the city. Two days ago, Telco officer-in-charge Kamleswar Pandey got a tip-off that a youth (Ajit) of Birsanagar was running a bike-lifters’ gang,” said Homkar.

Superintendent of police (city) Karthik S. set up a team, which raided the suspected thief’s house and arrested him. Ajit spilled the beans during questioning following which police made some more arrests, mainly from Birsanagar and a few other places.

“Ajit revealed that he had an associate, Bablu Lohar, in Lohardaga district, who sold stolen bikes. We sent a team there to arrest Bablu. The team also seized eight stolen bikes that had already been sold to people,” Homkar added.

According to the SSP, the gang’s modus operandi was well thought-out and structured. “Ajit would carry out a recce in a particular area. After spotting a bike worth stealing, he would pass on the information about its location and type to his other gang members, who, in turn, stole the vehicle. They used a thin piece of metal to unlock the bike and disappeared with it,” Homkar said.

Later, they would dump the stolen bike at Ajit’s house. Ajit eventually shifted it to a motor garage owned by Gorai at Patamda. Gorai, also a motor mechanic, modified the bikes and also arranged fake papers for selling them for Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000.

Once the vehicle got sold, the gang members would get a small cut as their ‘fee’.

Telco officer-in-charge Pandey, who played a crucial role in unearthing the racket, said that most of the bikes recovered had been stolen from Bistupur and Sakchi area of the city.

“This gang was also active in places like Golmuri, Jugsalai and Sonari,” he added.

Homkar said the officers who busted the gang would be handsomely rewarded while a case would be registered with Telco police.

On Sunday, police had busted another bike-lifting gang, arresting one person and seizing five two-wheelers.

Do you think lax vigil has led to a spurt in bike thefts? Tell