ANDHRA PRADESH

Attention diversion gang strikes again

Staff Reporter

Security agency partner relieved of Rs. 5 lakhs

HYDERABAD: They struck again. Five days after relieving two persons of Rs. 7.14 lakh in city centre, gangs stealing cash by distracting concentration of people took away Rs. 5 lakh from a person on Saturday at Chaitanyapuri in a similar fashion.

Incidentally, the 40-year-old victim in the fresh incident is managing partner of a security service agency.

Dayanand withdrew the amount from Syndicate bank’s branch at Chaitanyapuri around noon and walked up to his bike parked outside.

Just when he was about to kickstart the vehicle, a stranger approached him asking, if he had lost money pointing towards some Rs. 10 notes on the ground.

“Dayanand kept the cash bag on the bike and started collecting the notes while the stranger grabbed the bag and ran away,” the Saroornagar police station Inspector L.A. Bhaskar said.

It was only when a passerby saw the thief fleeing with the bag and alerted did Dayanand realise that he was taken for a ride.

By then, the stranger joined his associates waiting closeby and disappeared.

Mr. Dayanand withdrew the amount to disburse salaries to the employees.

Police appealed to people, especially those depositing or withdrawing money from banks, to be cautious about ‘attention diversion’ gangs because most of the thefts were committed in the vicinity of banks.

Operating style of the gangs is almost same but they only change the bait now and then. To distract the victim, they throw currency notes on the ground in some cases, sprinkle ‘dirt’ (which mostly could be some biscuit paste) in a few incidents, or mislead the victim saying the vehicle had a flat tyre or that there is an oil leakage from the engine in other cases.

Investigators suspect that the same gang could be behind all the three thefts committed recently.

“Unlike other offenders, who flee the city after committing crime, members of this gang seem to be moving in the city targeting more people, Mr. Bhaskar said.

People need to be extra careful about the cash or jewellery they are carrying if unfamiliar persons approach and try to distract attention using different tactics, he cautioned.

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