Kochi

Cargo thieves on the run land in city police net

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Muhammad Rafeeq Sheikh and his son were arrested from Jharkhand

They came with a truck, loaded the cargo and simply vanished.

Cracking one of the biggest cargo theft cases in Kochi, the city police have nabbed the driver of one such truck that had gone missing last month while transporting merchandise worth Rs.13 lakh to Kolkata.

Police officials said 62-year-old Muhammad Rafeeq Sheikh and his 38-year-old son Muhammad Riyaz Sheik, hailing from Thane in Maharashtra, were arrested from a hideout near Ranchi in Jharkhand. The truck, carrying as many as 59 photocopy machines, was a contract carrier arranged by a city-based firm and went missing on May 6.

“The duo had purchased two new mobile phones and SIM cards for conducting the operation. In all, we could recover nine mobile phones and 15 SIM cards from their possession, which meant that they had carried out similar operations before,” they said.

The police had sent messages to all the photocopy machine dealers across the country after receiving a complaint. A couple of weeks later, a small-scale vendor in Thumkuru, a town located about 75 kilometres from Bengaluru, contacted the police and told them about a person, who called the vendor and offered brand new machines for a price as low as Rs.5,000.

“We traced the number to Bengaluru, which later moved to Bijapur in Maharashtra and then to Madhya Pradesh. The tower location further changed to Andhra Pradesh and then to Bihar. From there, they went to Jharkhand and stayed there for a couple of days,” they said.

Truck recovered

By the time the police recovered the missing truck, the accused had managed to sell at least 13 machines at a price range between Rs.2,000 and Rs.20,000 while the remaining 46 machines were kept inside a godown near their hideout. The duo were airlifted to Bengaluru and will be brought to Kochi by Thursday morning.

Preliminary investigations revealed that besides three trucks, Sheikh reportedly owned a granite quarry in Mandya, which featured in the popular Bollywood movie Sholay .

“More details about the thefts committed by them and assets amassed will be known only after a detailed interrogation,” said Bijoy Chandran, Circle Inspector, Ernakulam South.



Sheikh reportedly owns a granite quarry in Mandya, which featured in the popular Bollywood movie Sholay



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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 7:28:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/Cargo-thieves-on-the-run-land-in-city-police-net/article14424776.ece

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