Criminals in Delhi seem to be taking a more creative and less violent approach to achieve their targets. Targeting crowded commercial centres, these petty criminals have traded the age old scare and rob technique for a distract and rob one.
Less than a fortnight after they sabotaged a 30 year old businessman's vehicle, followed him around for over 5 km and stole from his vehicle while he was looking for a mechanic, a similar gang robbed a 50 year old schoolteacher using a similar modus operandi on Saturday afternoon.
“I was surprised at the way they distracted me seconds after I was robbed so that I couldn’t identify them later,” said Rita Roy (name changed), a 50 year old schoolteacher. Roy was robbed in the crowded Chandni Chowk market.
Roy had parked her car opposite the old Jubilee theatre and was en route to the Dariba area when the incident took place.
“I was walking to the market area at around 12:30 pm after parking my car when someone snatched my bag and ran away. Even as I was trying to make sense of what had happened, a man posing as a shopkeeper rushed towards me instead of at the snatchers and pointed to a bundle of notes near my feet and asked me to pick them up,” Roy said.
The man claimed the money had fallen out of her bag when it was snatched. "He kept me engaged for a couple of minutes, pressuring me to take the money. Later, I realised that he was just buying time for the snatchers to get away. He might have kept me engaged for just two minutes, but had I raised an alarm during those two minutes, there's a chance that the criminals might have been caught," Roy said.
Needless to say, the man soon lost interest in Roy, refused to lend her his cell phone to make a PCR call and suggested that she walk to the local police station instead. Businessmen from the adjacent Kashmere Gate market have similar tales to relate.
“In the Kashmere Gate area, there is a similar gang that uses mobil oil to distract drivers away from their vehicles,” said Vinay Narang, public relations officer of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association.
Ravi Singhania (35), an automotive parts wholesale dealer, also became a victim of this gang on August 1.
“A teenage boy knocked on my window as I was about to drive off. He said oil was leaking from my bonnet. When I got out to check, I did see oil there but it was not from my car. When I got back into my, I realised that my laptop and briefcase had been stolen,” Singhania said.
DCP (north) Sagar Preet Hooda said, “These are amateur gangs and we will soon crack down on them.”