Within a span of one week, eight juveniles from the same district in Jharkhand have been arrested for stealing handbags from various south Delhi markets.
The police's Child Welfare Committee (CWC) suspects that a human trafficking gang might be involved and they are especially using juveniles to commit burglaries and baglifting.
"There is a pattern in all these cases; all the children have been brought from Sahebganj district in Jharkhand. It appears that there is a racket which operates in weekly markets and children are being used by adult offenders to steal mobile phones and other items," said an officer of CWC, Lajpat Nagar. The most recent case was reported Sarojini Nagar where a 9-year-old child was caught for stealing a mobile phone.
In a similar case, a 12-year-old boy was caught from Vasant Kunj market on January 3.
"A PCR call was received and local residents said they caught the child red handed. And when asked about their parents, these kids always misguide us. And in most of these cases, immediately after the child was apprehended, a lawyer on behalf of the child appeared, suggesting this is an organised racket," a senior police officer said.
Police said they have witnessed a trend of juveniles being involved in all types of crime including murder, snatching and robbery, as they cannot be arrested. "There are well organised gangs pushing juveniles into crime. Juveniles were sent to child shelter homes. They come out soon and again indulge in criminal activities," the officer added.
Police said most such juveniles are school dropouts. They have now decided to track and arrange counselling for them and their parents.
The senior officer said, "We have written to all city schools to send us a list of school dropouts. After identifying them, we will contact their parents so that they don't enter the world of crime."