They posed as speech and hearing impaired, with fake medical certificates to support their claims, and approached people for money. When someone did stop to help, they robbed the unsuspecting victim of his mobile phone or laptop.
The Meghwadi police on Sunday arrested four men, who were part of a gang that used this tactic to rob people in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
The police have recovered 21 mobile phones and three laptops from the accused, Raj Nityanand, 20, Shakti Gangavadar, 19, Narsimhan Mandal, 19, and Govind Venkat Swami, 20.
Natives of Andhra Pradesh, the accused lived in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai. The police said the gang comprised more than 15 members who travelled from Seawoods to various parts of the city to steal valuables from people. They would search for a spot they can operate from and then strike.
A police officer from Meghwadi police station, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media, said they would split into groups of three. One group would approach the target with a fake medical certificate portraying them as speech and hearing impaired and ask the victim to give them some money.
Senior inspector Shivajirao Kolekar said: “None of the gang members are speech or hearing impaired. The task of this group was to distract the target, while the other gang would manage to steal the victim’s mobile phone or the laptop of the victim.”
The gang has three cases registered against it at Meghwadi police station. The police said the gang only operated between 8am and 11am. This is the time when several people are rushing to work. “The accused would either visit people at home or stop them on their way to office,” Kolekar said.
The police are now trying to locate the other members of the gang. They are also contacting other police stations to check if similar offences have been registered with them.