The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 15 , 2014
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Bike lifters on the prowl
Cops blame careless owners

Twenty-seven-year-old Suraj Mahto parked his two-wheeler near Tata Main Hospital’s gate in Bistupur and went to visit a relative inside on Sunday morning. He came out after an hour to find his vehicle missing

On Friday afternoon, Ravinder Singh of Sitaramdera had left his two-wheeler at MGM Medical College and Hospital’s surgical ward before walking to the emergency ward to see a doctor for a stomach ailment he is suffering from. By the time he came back, the bike had disappeared

Mahto and Singh are not the only victims of a string of vehicle-lifting incidents that have triggered an alarm in Jamshedpur. Scores of bikers like them are falling prey to thieves every day with public places like Tata Main Hospital, MGM Medical College and Hospital, Lifeline Nursing Home, Jubilee Park, Keenan Stadium and even the SP’s office premises in Bistupur becoming increasingly unsafe.

But what’s more absurd is that despite getting complaints of at least two bike theft cases daily, police have failed to do much to stop them. Instead of launching a prompt crackdown on the bike gangs active in the steel city, they found out an easy way out by blaming the victims more for leaving their two-wheelers unguarded.

“It’s true that there are several gangs of vehicle-lifters in the city but it also cannot be denied that vehicle owners do not keep their bikes under lock and key. Thieves target only those bikes that are not properly locked. Had there been an additional lock system in any vehicle, we wouldn’t have got so many complaints,” deputy superintendent of police, (headquarters-I), Jagdish Prasad told The Telegraph.

A police officer posted at Bistupur thana said on the condition of anonymity that on an average, two bikes were being stolen from the steel city every day.

“The theft count would have been much more had the police had taken down written complaints in all the cases. One more thing, two-wheelers are not only being lifted from public places, but also from near residential premises,” he added.

Records reveal that more than 300 two-wheelers had been stolen from public places as well as residential areas in the city since January 1.

While police have been able to recover 10 per cent of the stolen vehicles, the rest were sold out by the criminals to customers either in other cities or rural areas.

And as if the sorrow of losing one’s prized vehicle is not enough, the victims also end up being unnecessarily harassed by police. Many said that police officers either refused to accept their complaints or asked them to come to the thana with the receipt copy of the FIR after 48 hours.

“Even if a stolen vehicle is tracked, it’s a harrowing process to get it back. One has to visit the court and complete a series of legal formalities. The process is too archaic and complicated,” a biker who had lost his mean machine to thieves said.

According to sources, soon after lifting a vehicle, the thieves take it to a bike mechanic, who dismantles the engine and puts in place another one. The numberplate is also changed or modified in such a way that the original owner can in no way recognise the vehicle. Thereafter, the two-wheelers are sold at throwaway prices.

Superintendent of police (city) Karthik S., however, maintained that vehicle checking drives was being conducted regularly to zero in on stolen bikes. “Vehicle thefts are occurring, but we can safely say that the crime is under control as we are conducting regular drives,” he claimed.