After their day’s work, they are spending three or four hours daily on the streets of Madiwala along with policemen in mufti to identify the gang.

Mohith and Suraj, both in their early 20s and working as software engineers in leading IT companies in the city, have now donned the role of a private eye. Their mission: to track down a gang of mobile phone lifters which is on the prowl in and around Forum Mall.

The two lost their expensive mobile phones on Wednesday. While Mohith lost his mobile phone while boarding a bus, Suraj’s was taken away from his car, which was rammed by a two-wheeler forcing it to come to a halt.

After their day’s work, both are spending three or four hours daily on the streets of Madiwala along with policemen in mufti to identify the gang.

The police, which reluctantly registered the complaints, have sought the complainant’s help to track down the culprits.

“This has motivated me to help the police as I have seen the accused closely and can identify them. I do not want to give this up easily as it was an expensive phone that I bought only a few days ago,” Mohith told The Hindu.

Their routine: Mohith and Suraj land up at Forum Mall soon after finishing their work.

“I am sure the gang would come back soon to target other people and I have a hunch that I would help the police catch it to recover all the stolen mobile phones from it,” Mohith said.

On January 16, as Mohith, after a tiring day at work, was boarding a crowded bus at Madiwala to head back home, his expensive mobile phone was snatched. “He snatched the phone from my shirt pocket and tried to flee. I caught hold of him immediately, but he passed on the phone to his associate. They were quick and I lost both of them,” bemoaned Mohith.

Suraj, who lost his phone near Forum Mall, said that he was waiting at a traffic signal when a person knocked on the car window and pointed out that his vehicle has been hit. “I got off the car to check and returned immediately to find my mobile phone missing from the dashboard,” he said.

Since the incident occurred at a traffic signal, Suraj has been trying to obtain CCTV camera footage but to no avail. “I have complained to the Koramangala police and have also tried to contact traffic police officials to get the footage but to no avail,,” he said.

He said that the officials responded saying that the footage would not be clear enough to identify people in it. “If they can zoom in on vehicle numbers, how can faces not be identified,” asked Suraj.

“Although it was clearly stolen from me, the police refused to lodge a theft case and instead made me file a complaint saying that my phone was lost,” he said. However, he added that the policemen have been accompanying him to go on rounds everyday with the hope of catching the culprits. “The police have been assisting well enough at the ground level. But the mobile phone has to be tracked first to get any work done,” he told The Hindu.