Cops arrest thief who robbed 60 houses
A 30-year-old burglar who allegedly looted around 60 houses in Navi Mumbai over the past one-and-a-half years was arrested by the Rabale police in Pune on Tuesday. Gold jewellery worth Rs7 lakh was recovered.
The burglar has been identified as Gorakh Baburao Mhatre, a resident of Kopar Khairane.
Acting on a tip-off, the police laid a trap near Chandini Chowk and caught Mhatre. He has been breaking into houses since he was a minor, said the police.
“When we learnt that Mhatre was coming to Pune, we immediately laid a trap. He was caught after a few hours. We had arrested him two years ago for similar crimes and were thus able to identify him,” said Santosh Pimpale, police inspector from Rabale police station.
Mhatre’s accomplice is still at large. Police teams are on the lookout for him. Mhatre and his accomplice would roam the city by autorickshaw or on foot and target locked flats in isolated buildings. They would loot the houses in 10 to 15 minutes and then flee.
“The accused has confessed to having looted 13 houses in Rabale, 15 houses at Kopar Khairane, 13 houses in Khandeshwar and five houses in Panvel. We suspect he was behind other burglaries in the city too,” he said.
The police said Mhatre would sell the stolen jewellery in Mumbai. They are trying to trace people who purchased the items. “Several more stolen goods are still to be recovered as one accused is still at large. We will catch him soon,” said S Adangale, police inspector (crime).
The police have booked Mhatre under sections 457, 454 and 380 of the Indian penal code. He was produced before the judicial court on Tuesday and has been remanded in police custody.
Rabale is one of the mostburgled areas in Navi Mumbai. Robberies are also registered frequently in Vashi, Kopar Khairane, Nerul, Kharghar and Panvel.
“We have increased patrolling in the past few months. Nakabandis are being conducted on all major roads. We appeal to residents to take precautionary measures to prevent such crimes,” said Adangale.