There have been nine major robberies in the past two months in Mumbai’s eastern and central suburbs. The victims were carrying cash, jewellery or other valuables. In some cases, the victims were in their cars, but the thieves managed to stop and loot them.
Sanjay Shintre, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 7), said: “Many people from poor families now have access to motorcycles, which help them execute such crimes. There are many poor neighbourhoods in the eastern suburbs, which could be why there is a spate of robberies there.” He added: “In many cases of robbery, the victims’ presence of mind can go a long way in nabbing the culprits… The police can’t be present everywhere. We require the people’s help.”
The latest robbery happened on Tuesday. Yusuf Patel, 32, a social worker from Chembur, was returning from a friend’s house at Ghatkopar when an unidentified motorcycle-borne man and his pillion stopped his Tata Safari.
“The biker was riding parallel to our car near the Ghatkopar Cosmos Bank branch. Suddenly, he veered in front of us, forcing my driver Farooq Shaikh to hit the brakes. I initially thought Shaikh had cut into the biker’s lane, angering him,” Patel said.
He added: “Within moments, a rickshaw pulled up alongside and five people, along with the two on the bike, tried to pull us out and started hitting us. I managed to stay inside, but Shaikh was dragged out and hit on the head with a stone. They snatched away my gold chains and two cell phones, including one I recently purchased for Rs 32,000. I don’t know if the motive was robbery or someone had planned an assault on me. My driver had to get stitches on the face and I was admitted to Rajawadi Hospital.”
Police Inspector U Kholekar, of the Ghatkopar police, said: “We are investigating whether it was a robbery attempt or something bigger. As of now, we have registered a case of robbery. The value of the loot was Rs 80,000.”
On Monday night, there was a case of carjacking and robbery at Sion. Raju Shirsanth, 28, a driver from Pune who had come to the airport to drop off a passenger, was attacked in his parked Tata Indigo at Sion.
Shirsanth, who said he was tired and was sleeping, was approached by two men asking to be taken to Chembur.
“Shirsanth initially refused, but they managed to talk him into accepting the fare. Once in the car, they threatened him and beat him up. They forced him to drive up to Panvel, where they threw him out. The duo drove off with the car, worth Rs 4 lakh, Shirsanth’s money and his cellphone,” said Tulsiram Nagre, senior police inspector, Sion.