Two gangs of thieves on Wednesday morning stole the rear view mirrors of seven luxury cars — Jaguar, Audi and BMW — from south Delhi’s posh South Extension Part-1.
The thefts, police said, took place in less than 10 minutes and were captured on CCTV cameras installed by local residents at their homes.
One of the CCTV footage shows a thief removing the rear view mirrors from both sides of an Audi A6 in just 25 seconds by simply pressing them down.
Police suspect the crimes were the handiwork of the infamous ‘kaan tod’ gang that operates in South Delhi neighbourhoods such as Defence Colony, South Extension and Lodhi Colony, among others.
Five separate FIRs have been registered in connection with the thefts carried out from one Jaguar, two Audis, three BMWs, and one Honda Civic cars.
Chandra Kant Govil, owner of one of the Audi cars, told HT that on Wednesday around 6am, he was going out for a morning walk when he noticed that the rear view mirrors of his car were missing. “I returned home after the morning walk, called the police control room and reported the matter,” said Govil.
Govil checked footage of the cameras installed at his house. The footage showed an auto-rickshaw entering the lane outside his house and passing by his car at 5.24am. At 5.26 am, the auto-rickshaw returns and is parked close to his car. One of the occupants approaches Govil’s Audi car and takes a round of it before going back to the auto.
The man returns 10 seconds later, removes the driver side’s rear view mirror by pressing it down with his hand and cutting its wire with a sharp object. He keeps it on the car’s bonnet and then removes the left side mirror using the same trick. The thief leaves in the auto with his two other accomplices.
“I later called up Audi’s official showroom and asked them about the cost of new side view mirrors from. They said the cost of two mirrors would come up to around `2.5 lakh,” he added.
According to Manjeet Singh Chug, vice-president of South Extension-1 RWA, six other cars, apart from Govil’s, were targeted by six men in two autos.
Chugh said two, of the seven targeted cars, lost both their rear-view mirrors.
Poor CCTV coverage, lack of police patrols
Residents said South Extension Part-1 residential colony was covered by 70 CCTV cameras installed by the Delhi Police, through Electronic Corporation of India Limited.
But almost all the cameras were lying defunct. Repeated requests to the local Kotla Mubarakpur police station and to the office of DCP (south), Ishwar Singh, to rectify the problems have gone unheeded, residents alleged.
“Out of 70 cameras installed by Delhi Police, only four are currently functional. No efforts have been made to repair the others,” said Chug.
Residents said the lax attitude of the police had led to a rise in such street crimes. They said police patrolling in their areas, especially at nights, was negligible.
“Our colony has multiple entry and exit gates. There is no restriction on entry for outsiders and they park their vehicles in our lanes. Illegal encroachments are rampant,” said Chug.
He said a new Hyundai Creta belonging to the nephew of a local MLA too had been stolen from the locality a week ago.
“We have registered multiple FIRs and have launched an investigation in the cases,” a police officer said.
DCP Ishwar Singh could not be contacted for a comment.