With rising prices making the lure of gold stronger, chain-snatchers seem to have altered their tactics and don't spare even those travelling in moving vehicles.
Traditionally, bike-borne chain-snatchers found soft targets in pedestrians. The pillion rider would snatch the chain and the bike rider would then zoom off, said an officer from the Santacruz police station, adding that those travelling by vehicles were not targeted earlier.
“Nowadays, if they spot someone wearing gold seated near the window seat of a car or the edge of an autorickshaw, they often target them. They slow down as they approach the vehicle and veer the bike close to the window. The pillion rider then snatches the victim’s chain and the two flee,” he added.
An officer from the Oshiwara police station said those in four wheelers and three-wheelers need to be cautious. “Normally, they feel they are safe, making them more vulnerable,” he said.
Chain-snatchers have also increasingly started targeting senior citizens, whom they feel would not be able to physically overpower them. “Sometimes, the victim has managed to nab the chain snatcher, beat him up with the help of locals and hand him over to the police. To avoid this risk, chain snatchers have started targeting senior citizens,” said assistant inspector SS Yadav of Antop Hill police station.
There have also been a few recent incidents where chain-snatchers have changed their modus operandi of using motorcycles, opting instead for autorickshaws. Inspector Subhash Vele of the MHB colony police station had told HT that chain-snatchers did this to evade police at nakabandi points, who have been asked to look out for bikers going at high speed. The three wheelers also give the accused enough room to hide the stolen jewellery, in case the vehicle is stopped during a nakabandi.