Thief caught red-handed locks himself in Delhi flat, plays dead to escape arrest
Caught red-handed while burgling a flat in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, a 20-year-old man locked himself inside the house and played dead to escape arrest, police said on Thursday.
Akash allegedly banged his head on the wall and smashed crockery on his face to pass himself off as dead as he remained locked inside the house for over an hour.
But the police broke into the flat and arrested Akash (identified only by first name), who allegedly continued to pretend dead for several minutes even after being caught. His interrogation led to the arrest of eight other members of his gang and two receivers of stolen property.
The gang called itself the ‘Devil’s Angels’ based on a 1967 Hollywood flick. “The gang leader, Shivam alias Kancha, had got the film’s name tattooed on his arm. He gave his gang the same name,” said a police investigator.
Kancha was released from jail in late February after which he allegedly decided to set up a new gang by recruiting youngsters from his neighbourhood in east Delhi’s Trilokpuri.
“As a welcome gift to new members of the gang, he would offer them smartphones and tablets for free,” said the investigator. The gang included six adults and three minors.
For inspiration, the gang members would together watch Hollywood action films and Bollywood movies like ‘Dhoom’, said Omvir Singh, deputy commissioner of police (east).
The gang’s luck ran dry on Monday afternoon when three members of the gang tried to burgle a flat on the first-floor of a DDA flat in Mayur Vihar Phase-1.
“My wife and I had left for the local market around 3 pm. We had informed our neighbours that we would be back in half an hour. But just minutes later, neighbours heard sounds from our house and called us to verify if we had returned,” said Gaurav Talwar, the house owner.
Talwar dialled the police and rushed back home. By then, the other neighbours were also aware of the break-in. As they gathered outside the flat, the suspect allegedly locked himself in the house and refused to come out. “He couldn’t escape from the balcony as people had positioned themselves there too,” said Talwar.
When an hour of negotiations failed, police broke open the door and pulled Akash out from under the dining table where he was pretending to be dead. “He was hurt, but certainly not unconscious. He opened his eyes when we told him we were the police and that the mob wouldn’t touch him,” said an investigator.
Police said Kancha and another gang member were also the part of the burglary, but they stayed outside the flat. When Akash was caught, they abandoned him and fled from the spot.
“Though Kancha would be a part of every burglary, he would play safe and instead use the young members of the gang to break into houses,” said the investigator.
“The gang had unique places to hide the jewellery they stole. At their hideout in Trilokpuri, they had hidden jewellery in a special plastic cover concealed under their dustbin. The man arrested from the house had designed a special pocket in his jeans for the purpose,” the investigator added.
The DCP said the gang had been involved in multiple cases of snatching and burglary over the past few weeks. “The gang took advantage of the pleasant weather. As east Delhi residents ventured out of their homes, it was easy for the gang to target them on the streets and their vacant homes convenient to burgle,” said the DCP.