One member caught last Sunday. Gang used motorcycles and posed as cops to snatch chains
The gang was smart, meticulously organised and committed.
They shipped motorcycles to the city through cargo services, parked them at Chennai Airport’s lot, flew in twice a month and rode the motorcycles across the city — all to snatch chains from elderly women.
On Friday, city police nabbed a few more members of the gang, consisting of Thane-based members. Last Sunday, one member of the gang had been caught, and since then, police had been on the lookout for the rest. The total amount of gold they stole is believed to be around 100 sovereigns.
This is the second gang bust of late — a group led by Asif Sabeer Syed (50) who posed as policemen and conned victims, were taken into custody on March 4. According to police, the initial breakthrough came last Sunday when police constable Sathyanarayanan of the Valasaravakkam police station was on duty, and intercepted a motorcycle with Maharashtra registration plates. The rider, later identified as John Hussain (35) of Thane, was nabbed, while the pillion rider managed to flee.
On questioning Hussain, investigators found out he was part of an eight-member gang who frequented Chennai to snatch chains.
“Last year the gang members came by train to Chennai and brought along a few motorcycles with Maharashtra registration plates. They rode the motorcycles, snatched chains across the city, parked their vehicles at the airport and went back to Mumbai by air,” said an officer.
This pattern continued — the gang frequently flew down from Mumbai, the officer added.
Their modus operandi for the crime itself was also novel — members would pose as police officers in plain clothes, find an elderly woman, and ask her to hand over their gold to them as there were miscreants nearby.
Another gang member would then rush in pretending to be a passer-by, tell the woman that a fight or brawl was taking place among the miscreants, and hand over some jewellery he was wearing to the ‘police officers’. This would invariably convince victims to follow suit, the police said.
Hussain led the investigating team to Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and his accomplices Akmat Sameer (38), Jaffer (25) and Asid Sayed (50), were then arrested.
The gang was brought to Chennai and remanded judicial custody on Friday evening. A hunt is on to apprehend a few other members of the gang and recover the lost gold, police said.