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Delhi’s wedding gangs are back, target bride’s mother near Connaught Place

At a wedding function on Saturday, a bag containing cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 2 lakh was stolen from the bride’s mother at Jai Singh Road on Saturday.

delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2017 11:10 IST
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Hindustan Times
Delhi,Delhi crime,Wedding
Last year, many such wedding thefts were reported in which gang members — primarily women and children — merged with guests at a wedding and then decamped with bags.

As the wedding season kicks off, last year’s party poopers – gangs which mingle with guests to commit thefts – are back.

At a wedding function on Saturday, a bag containing cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 2 lakh was stolen from the bride’s mother at Jai Singh Road on Saturday.

Deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) BK Singh said that the manner in which the theft was committed resembled a host of thefts that were reported at weddings in Delhi-NCR last year.

Singh confirmed that the theft was the first such this year. He said the complainant was Mariamma Josh, a resident of Mayur Vihar, who reported that the theft took place in YMCA lawns during the wedding function of her daughter Asha.

In her statement, Josh said that she suspected that a 10-year-old boy had stolen the bag from the podium when she was looking elsewhere. He managed to take away the bag when Josh, a senior nursing staff at Apollo Hospital, was talking to guests.

How the thefts are planned
Last year, many gangs were traced to a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh who planned thefts at weddings in Delhi-NCR
  • A gang member identifies children who can be potential recruits and approaches their family
  • The member enters into a contract with the family for ‘renting’ the kid
  • Usually, the contracts are made over an annual fees of Rs 2 lakh - Rs 5 lakh
  • Once the kids are taken, they are kept in posh neighbourhoods as part of their training
  • They are asked to observe the mannerism of the elite – to eat with a knife and fork, dress and behave well
  • Once trained, the kids are sent to wedding ceremonies in high-profile venues
  • They mingle with the crowd, identify the bags that have cash and jewellery and steal them
  • The gangs make prior arrangements for the travel of the children
  • The gangs prefer kids as they are quick learners and even if they are caught, are not jailed
  • The gangs have their lawyers in several states
  • The moment a child is caught, the lawyer bails him out soon and the child is taken back and sent for other heists
PAST CASES
  • JULY 3: A minor allegedly stole a bag of gifts and Rs 8 lakh cash from a wedding in southwest Delhi. Police say three accused aged 7-12 years had been given to gangs for an annual fee of Rs 2 lakh.
  • FEBRUARY 20: Delhi Police crime branch arrested three women running a gang that had allegedly targeted 100 weddings across Delhi-NCR.
  • JANUARY 30: Police busted a gang allegedly involved in 15 wedding thefts in Delhi-NCR. The mother of a juvenile who was held said she was paid Rs 2 lakh for allowing her son to join the gang.
  • JANUARY 28: A group of children stole a trolley containing gold from a wedding at India Islamic Cultural Centre.
  • JANUARY 29: Two women stole diamond jewellery from a wedding function in hotel Shangri-La in Delhi.
  • DECEMBER 2016: Three cases were reported in which women were filmed lifting jewellery from separate wedding venues in Civil Lines and Chanakyapuri.

“I must have taken my eyes off the bag for a minute and the boy, who was disguised as a guest, pulled off the theft. The bag contained gold jewellery, smartphones and envelopes containing cash. The combined value of these articles would be Rs 2 lakh,” Josh told Hindustan Times.

A PCR call was made from the wedding venue and a case of theft was registered at Connaught Place police station, added Singh.

Last year, many such wedding thefts were reported in which gang members — primarily women and children — merged with guests at a wedding and then decamped with bags. Many of these gangs were traced to a single village in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh. Police had even issued advisories warning that these gangs may even bribe the staff of catering services and venue staff to provide information about the wedding and facilitate entry.

The current theft has prompted fears that the gang members have returned despite a massive crackdown, which saw several members being arrested.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 07:27 IST