How modern day robbers are stealing from Mumbaikars in 2016

How modern day robbers are stealing from Mumbaikars in 2016
A still from the movie ‘Special 26’ where robbers loot a jewellery store in broad daylight

There was a time when robbers would wait for the house owners to sleep, pick the lock and run away with whatever they could get their hands on.

But technology has sort of put an end to robbers that followed the plain old lock picking modus operandi. It’s 2016 and robbers keeping tabs on what’s being done to keep them at bay – and they’re planning their way around it.

According to Mumbai Police, robbers are now aware of the presence of CCTV cameras prior to the committing the robbery. So they make it a point to wear a mask. Some even damage the camera quickly to ensure they don’t give anything away during the robbery. Also, since most still prefer avoiding violent confrontations with the public or police, they spend more time planning than executing.

In the first quarter of 2016 alone, around 800 cases of robbery been registered in Mumbai alone. If the number of cases increase at the same rate, residents of the maximum city would have witnessed over 3200 robberies by the year end; roughly 200 more than last year.

But now that old buildings are giving way to new ones, CCTVs are replacing absentee watchmen and people don’t see the point of hiding cash under their beds, how is it that the number of robberies are increasing?

According to the Police, it’s how the robbers have changed with the times.

Here’s a compilation of a few techniques that robbers have adopted to rob Mumbai’s homes and shops circa 2016:

The Posers

As the name suggests, there are also those who pose as someone completely different to commit robberies. This technique is primarily used by those who conduct robberies during the day by gaining the victim’s trust and/or confusing them. Although the technique itself is quite old, the getups they don are changing with the times. Since posing as a plumber, salesman, beggars etc is passe, robbers have started posing as policemen, Income Tax officers, BMC workers etc. They are mostly successful since they often con people into giving the money away as ‘bribe’. And who’s going to go and register a complaint for getting conned for while paying a bribe?

The Olympic Climbers

A gang of tribals belonging to Pardhi community were responsible for a host of robberies around the Navi Mumbai and Thane areas. Their members actually receive ‘pipe climbing’ training prior to joining the gang and they would target buildings with concrete pipes. They would climb the pipes like a pro and make their way to the house through the kitchen windows.

The Homeless Ones

Robbers, especially the ones who target places of business, would start by carefully selecting the most opportune and often cash rich target. Then they would scan the area, study the surroundings and familiarise themselves with it. After the research is over, they would pose as homeless workers and sleep near the shop’s pavement at night. Later, when the time is right, the hammers and screwdrivers would come out and the job of breaking in would begin. Robbers who use this technique would always be quick to break in and get away.

The Slippery Ones

This technique, made famous by the dreaded Chaddi-Baniyan gang, involves applying copious amounts of oil on the body. Since more time was spent greasing their bodies than actually planning, it didn’t matter how or when they broke in. What mattered was how you would nab them even if you caught them in action. They gained momentum because catching them was almost impossible unless one was anticipating getting robbed by greasy men. They even inspired a few copycats.

The Mango Sellers

Every year Mumbai plays host to hordes of visitors from other states who visit the city to sell their produce. Among them are robbers who pose as mango sellers and arrive in the city during the season. They rent empty shops next to those that sell valuable items. By agreeing to pay more, they ensure they get the shop they desire and drill holes between walls to gain access to the neighbouring shops. Police had to ask actually people to stop renting shops to mango sellers after three jewellery shops were robbed the same way.

The Short Ones

Don’t let the name fool you. There’s no gang of midgets running around the city robbing people. But, multiple gangs across South Mumbai have used the AC shafts to gain entry to the house. The smallest member of the gang would enter through the shaft and arrange for the rest to get in; often leaving people, who came home to locked house, wondering how they got robbed.

The Fishing Expert

An expert fisher can do more than fish. The statement was proved true by a fisherman who was responsible for robbing several houses and a jewellery shop using just his fishing equipment. He would use the net for climbing and the hook for picking up the lock.

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