This is one vicious cycle that the Delhi Police are glad to have reached the end of.
After detaining him innumerable times for burgling as many as 1,500 south Delhi homes of government officials before setting them on fire, and sending him to juvenile detention centres from where he would make his sweet escape hours later, the Delhi Police are claiming to have finally arrested the leader of notorious 'fire gang' on Saturday.
"This time, we arrested Sanjeev for his involvement in a burglary which was carried out in his signature style at the residence of a government official in Laxmi Bai Nagar on February 6," said HGS Dhaliwal, deputy commissioner of police (south). According to the police, Sanjeev's gang had set the residence of the government officer ablaze after burgling it.
"Since this particular gang has a vast history in which several incidents have been carried out in a similar fashion, the first thing we did was to check whether he had escaped from the observation home he was last lodged in," said a senior police officer of the investigation team. "We found that Sanjeev and many of his gang members were absconding and we knew it had to be him," the officer added.
The police said that the dreaded 'Sanju', as he is infamously referred to by his gang members and the local police alike, was arrested as he went cruising by near a picket.
"At about 6am today, the picket staff at the Ganda Nala area observed two boys who after noticing the picket, suddenly decided to ditch the bike and began running in the opposite direction. They were chased and apprehended after a mere 100 meters," the officer said.
Sanjeev's history of crime goes nearly 10 years back. In 2002, he was an average 10-year-old staying with his father and elder sister in Sarojini Nagar. But things at home weren't as normal as they should have been.
"His father is an alcoholic, which apparently drove him to run away from home. He got hooked to gambling and drugs soon after he left home and committed his first burglary at the age of 10," said the officer.
Within nine years, he had built his own 25-member gang, all of who are addicted to drugs and gambling like him.
Sanjeev has more than 1,500 burglaries to his credit, girlfriends who love his tattoos and clearly, no regret. "Every time he is detained and sent to the observation home, he would challenge the police saying that he would be back again. And he has always kept his word," the officer said.