Four armed robbers, who were fleeing from a building in Matunga after attacking two building residents who saw them ransacking a neighbour’s house, were chased and caught by locals and policemen on Saturday night.
The police said the four robbers broke the lock of an apartment on the second floor of Shri Kachchi Lohana building near Andhra school in Matunga (east) around 8.30pm. The robbers immediately started rummaging through the house for valuables and cash. As they emptied cupboards and shelves and threw items to the floor, 61-year-old Uma Ganatra, who lives on the first floor, heard the commotion at her sister’s house. She asked her neighbour, Krupa Thakkar, 28, to accompany her to the upper floor to check what was happening. When the duo found the flat door ajar and saw the robbers ransacking the house, they yelled, which attracted the robbers’ attention.
“Two of the men had choppers and tried to attack the women. While Thakkar sustained a cut on her left hand, Ganatra has abrasions on her wrist,” said Suresh Parab, senior inspector, Matunga police station.
As the women raised alarm, the robbers panicked and fled from the building with Rs5,000 that they had found, attracting the attention of policemen patrolling the area as well as locals, who gave them a chase. The accused jumped over a garden fence, but were caught 500 metres from the building.
The police said that the Thakkar family, whose flat the accused broke into, had left for their hometown in Gujarat on Friday. Jay Thakkar, 30, a family member, returned to the city on Sunday after learning about the robbery and confirmed that nothing apart from Rs5,000 had been robbed from the house.
The four accused have been identified as Imtiyaz Shaikh, 21, Mohammed Tamanna Ansari, 25, Janardhan Urmatla, 31 and Jehangir Shaikh, 22.
“The accused were remanded in police custody till November 7 on Sunday. The cash was recovered and we are probing if anyone tipped them about the locked flat,” said Parab.
Robberies double, detection drops
The city has reported double the number of robberies between January 1 and October 31 this year compared to the corresponding period last year, as per statistics with the Mumbai police. At the same time, the detection rate of robberies has declined from 84% in 2011 to 49% this year.
Last year, the city reported 361 robberies between January 1 and October 31, while 762 robberies were reported this year.
Nisar Tamboli, deputy commissioner of police and spokesperson for the city’ police, said the big rise in the number of robberies can be attributed to the circular issued by police commissioner Satyapal Singh, who has directed the police personnel to register cases of chain snatching too as robberies as opposed to the earlier practice of registering them as thefts. About the declining detection rate, Tamboli said: “The figures keep fluctuating. Because chain-snatching cases remain largely undetected, there’s a fall in the detection rate.”
According to statistics, the highest number of robberies has been reported from the west region this year at 204. In 2011 too, this region reported the maximum robberies. But the number was only 93.