Police on Friday claimed to have busted con artists who would commit robberies and then sell the stolen stuff online.
The men, who are believed to be involved in at least 60 robbery cases, would put the booty on sale at OLX.com, a space for user-generated classified ads.
The police seized 34 laptop computers, two cars, four TVs and jewellery from them.
“They would upload pictures of the stolen things on OLX and sell them at throwaway prices,” Vivek Sharma, joint commissioner, crime, said.
“The gang’s principal targets were working couples who left their homes in the morning. They used screw drivers and small iron rods to break locks,” Sharma said.
Manish, a 27-year-old undergraduate student from Uttar Pradesh, brought together five others in 2011 and began committing a series of crimes. He added a mechanic to the gang some time later. The others, Sagar Sharma, Mangal Sarkar, Zameel Khan and Alok Kumar, hail from Haryana, West Bengal and UP. They would burgle houses mostly in Gurgaon Sectors 46 and 45, and DLF 1, 2 and Sector 56/57.
Manish, who is “tech-savvy”, would spend lot of time discovering new ways of committing thefts and selling the stolen stuff.
Earlier, they sold the stolen things to cyber cafe owner Alok Kumar in Gurgaon. When Kumar got to know that the laptop computers were stolen, he began bargaining and offered lower prices. This left Manish disappointed, prompting him to switch to the website.
The men, who dressed smartly and sported expensive watches and jewellery, had bought two cars with the money they earned and used the vehicles during robberies.
The accused have long criminal records. The police failed to arrest them in the past two years despite them being allegedly involved in tens of thefts in Delhi and adjoining areas. They had sold 20 cell phones, 20 laptop computers, 10 TVs, four home theatre systems and 20 wrist watches since March 2013, the police said.
Officials at OLX.com refused comment, saying they were not authorised to speak to media.
Sharma said investigating officers were preparing a list of gadgets sold on OLX.com for further investigation. “There are no security barriers and there should be some mechanism to screen users of the portal,” he added.
The police urged caution while purchasing durables and gadgets online. A buyer of stolen items is equally liable to be booked for robbery.