By Vanu Dev
EVEN as the Bangalore Police are breaking their heads over solving a string of ATM thefts in the city, a new form of crime, allegedly being committed by an Iranian gang, has the police on their toes.
Unsuspecting victims are being relieved off their gold ornaments by miscreants, who are posing as policemen.
On Sunday, the gang struck at five different places and made away with gold jewellery worth several lakhs of rupees.
The modus operandi of the gang is neat - they pose as policemen in civilian clothes. When they spot lonely women on the road, two gang members stop and alert them about "chain snatchers" lurking in the area and advise them to take off their jewellery and wrap it in a handkerchief.
"They deceive the victims by pocketing the jewellery and placing stones in the handkerchief. They ask the victims to open the handkerchief only after reaching home. All five victims found stones in their handkerchief. Over a dozen such incidents have been reported in the last two weeks. We are working on the clues," a senior police officer said.
The police are shocked with the gang's audacity. Last Saturday, there were two such incidents -- most incidents take place during weekends, closer to North Bangalore.
"This kind of incident was rampant in Mumbai a couple of years ago. Some Iranians were behind the crimes. Last year, we apprehended an Iranian duo, who tried to deceive women and take their ornaments. We suspect something similar here but well- organised," the officer added.
The police strongly believe that the thefts are being committed by miscreants from outside the state.
The description of the suspects given by the victims is not that of locals.
According to the police, the gang could have been flying into Bangalore in the morning and leaving by the evening, as the thefts are taking place in North Bangalore localities, such as Malleshwaram, Yeshwanthapura, Jalahalli and Williams Town, which are close to the airport.
"We are monitoring frequent flyers from Bombay and Delhi to Bangalore. We are following a particular pattern and are hopeful of a breakthrough," the police said contending that they were confident of nabbing the gang.