Ghorasahan in East Champaran (Motihari) district of Bihar is fast becoming a village of thieves. Police say around 100 thieves from the village - inhabited by roughly 500 people - have been arrested from wide-reaching parts of the country over the past three years.
And there is a method to their stealing madness. Gangs of 20-25 people each from the village carry out thefts by lifting shutters of shops with the help of iron rods and holding them in place with hydraulic jacks.
The stolen goods are then taken back to Ghorasahan and passed on to 'receivers' who swiftly sell the items across the border in Nepal, just 2km away, at throwaway prices.
What's worse is that the menace of the Ghorasahan thieves knows no boundaries. They have struck in Dehradun, the National Capital Region (NCR), Hyderabad, Bhopal, Lucknow, Surat, Gurgaon, Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, according to a senior Muzaffarpur police officer who did not wish to be named.
The thefts, initially believed to be petty incidents of crime, have proven costly for the victims. The police recently arrested two men from the village and recovered seven luxury watches valued at Rs 7 lakh. The Rado and Longines watches were stolen from a Hyderabad watch shop which claimed the total estimate of the theft was around Rs 1.30 crore.
"Recently, the Delhi police also visited Ghorasahan in connection with the theft of 100 Rolex watches worth at least Rs 8 crore from Cooke and Kelvey showroom in Connaught Place on September 4," Motihari superintendent of police Sudhir Kumar Singh said.
The Bhopal police, too, raided the village and arrested two members of the gang and recovered 32 stolen mobile phones worth Rs 4 lakh, cutters and other equipment used to break into shops. The thieves have also made off with laptops, cameras and currency in the past, according to the police.
Police teams from various parts of the country have scaled up their attempts to crack down on the thieves, but the efforts remain largely futile as tracking the stolen items is tough after they are taken across the border, according to the Motihari police.