In a major breakthrough in solving thefts and burglaries in highrise buildings, the police on Thursday arrested a member of a ‘high-profile’ gang of thieves who travel by flights to major cities and carry out thefts in highrises.
The accused was nabbed by officials of the Indirapuram police station, following a similar theft at a highrise in Sector 6 of Vasundhara in January.
The images of the accused and his accomplices were captured in a CCTV camera and Mohammed Yusuf, 40, was traced by the police through local informers, who identified him through the CCTV footage. Senior officials said that the gang was earlier headed by one Nadeem, who had roped in Yusuf, a tailor from nearby Hapur district.
“Nadeem was his ‘Guru’ and is presently in jail in connection with a theft in Vijaywada (in Andhra Pradesh) where he was caught red-handed by locals in 2013. Yusuf was roped in by Nadeem into the gang as he looked mature and respectable due to his white beard. He also looked like an educated person,” said Anil Kumar Yadav, circle officer (Indirapuram).
According to officials, the gang had conducted nearly 30 thefts in highrises across Mumbai, Patna, Vijaywada, and major cities in Bihar and UP. Officials said that Yusuf was handling the gang since Nadeem went to jail. So far, Ghaziabad police had identified seven incidents of thefts, in which the group has a hand, in Delhi-NCR.
“The gang would go in groups of two members and wore formal or casual clothes such as jeans and T-shirts with a laptop bag on their shoulder to enter highrises, as they found that guards were lax in checking at gates. If they were denied entry, they would tell they were looking for different addresses and move away. Once they entered the highrise, they would look for locked flats, use equipment to break locks and move in to go about their business,” Yadav said.
Officials said that the gang members made it a point not to use mobile phones during thefts, in order to avoid tracking by police surveillance methods. Yusuf was arrested from Hindon in his Swift Dzire car, in which he had also hidden some valuables that are reported to be stolen.
The police recovered gold and silver jewellery, and Rs20,000 from his possession. Officials said that they are also on the lookout for two other members of the gang, whom they do not want to name due to pending investigation.