Cops ar­rest thief who robbed 60 houses

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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