A gang of teenagers in Jamshedpur used neighbourhood cricket games as a cover-up to steal valuables from houses in broad daylight and use the money to bet on T-20 ties, police said on Tuesday.
The 12-member gang of mostly minors would recce up market neighbourhoods to identify households with few occupants or where the family was out of town, sources said.
Once they zeroed in on a particular house, six to seven people would play cricket outside, using the game to provide cover to other members of the gang who would sneak into the house to steal cash and other valuables, they added.
The ruse of the game wouldn’t arouse the suspicion of neighbours and help the gang keep a look out for approaching police.
“The 12-member gang executed at least six burglaries worth about Rs 10 lakh in broad daylight. We’re raiding for one of the kingpins who invested the looted money in cricket betting and hope to nab him soon,” said Chandan Kumar Jha, city SP.
A special police team arrested four members – all aged 15-16 years – of the gang from Bagbera on Tuesday night. Police recovered four mobile phones, four gold chains, a Nikon camera, Aadhaar Cards and Rs 11, 000 in cash.
Police said one of the gang’s kingpins and two associates were involved in the city’s cricket-betting syndicates.
“We’re raiding all betting dens and have sent big bookies like Jamshed Ahmad alias Jumbo to jail, who had shot Rahul Chanbra over pending payment of Rs 72, 000 for betting during the recent Asia Cup T-20 championship in Bangladesh. We’ve also sent his partners to jail,” said Jha.
Police investigations also identified about two dozen big businessmen in the city who regularly bet Rs 2-3 crore on IPL and T-20 matches. “The betting network is now being run through links in Kolkata, Nagpur and Mumbai,” a senior police official said.