Inter-state gang of motor vehicle thieves busted, 4 held

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With the arrest of four thieves, Mumbai Police claimed to have busted an inter-state gang which stole luxury cars, especially multi-utility and sports-utility vehicles from the city and neighbouring Thane district.

Police recovered 14 vehicles including Pajero, Tavera, Alto and Wagon R cars from the accused.

Those arrested were identified as Riyaz Mehboob Khan (40), Muralidharan Pannikar (54), Fiyaz Ahmed Siddique (45) and Zakir Mohammed Shaikh (32), police said.

Acting on a tip-off, a trap was laid near Sheetal talkies in suburban Kurla (W) when the quartet arrived in a Hyundai Verna car.

The four were caught and a search of the seized car resulted in recovery of a bunch of keys belonging to stolen cars, said Deputy Police Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni.

The gang carried out their operations in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane district and sold the stolen vehicles outside Maharashtra.

The modus operandi of the group was to steal a vehicle after removing the rear windshield and beadings, using specialised tools.

The accused had also devised a method to turn on the ignition without using its key. Subsequently, they drove away the cars to their hideout and then remove the engine and Chassis number, also known as Vehicle Identification Number.

Afterwards, the stolen cars would be sold to gullible customers using fake documents in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh among other states.