The Manickpur police arrested a 35-year-old autorickshaw driver who has over 40 cases of chain snatching registered against him at Ulhasnagar, Kalyan, Ambernath and Vasai, among other places.
The accused, Prabhu Chintaman Rathod, was caught near Vasai sessions court on Friday morning, the police said.
According to the police, Rathod would drive an auto during the day and snatch chains early in the morning, particularly when his victims were out on walks.
"We received a tip-off from one of our informers that Rathod was going to arrive at the Vasai sessions court on Friday morning to drop a passenger. We laid a trap and caught him," said VA Saste, assistant inspector, Manickpur police station.
Recently, the city has witnessed a spate of similar chain-snatching incidents.
The police have also arrested a Vasai-based goldsmith, Himmat Soni in connection with the case.
"Soni would purchase the stolen chains from Rathod. We have been able to recover ornaments worth Rs 4.2 lakh, a cellphone, a ladies wallet, a pen-drive, a fake RC book of a motorbike, a purchase receipt of a Dhulia-based gold jeweller and a SIM card belonging to a police constable," said Saste.
Soni and Rathod, the police said, have been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 397 for robbery and have been remanded in police custody till February 4.
The police said that in his most recent attack, Rathod, along with his accomplice, Jagadish Jadhav, 40, had targeted a 40-year-old man, Rusi Gonsalves, in Vasai on Monday morning and snatched a 30gm gold chain from him.
"Jadhav snatched the chain and ran towards the rickshaw where Rathod was waiting for him. The locals rushed to catch Jadhav. Rathod, however, managed to flee," said Saste.
Jadhav was nearly lynched by the mob, who tied him to a common water post and beat him up until the police arrived.