As Christmas Eve take over Mumbai, the churches have become business for pickpockets and chain snatchers. In just two days Bandra police have received many complaints of Mobile phone and wallet theft cases. Many pickpockets keep eye on such events to steal phones and gold chains from unsuspecting visitors. Mount merry churches draw a lot of crowds – and thieves.
Cops estimate the thieves got more light-fingered on the first day, which attracted people across Mumbai, particularly since it was on Saturday. Cops have placed around 100 personnel and a network of CCTV cameras there to keep an eye out for pickpockets. Despite that, several thefts were reported in the queue leading to the Christmas mass. “We witnessed a surge in cases when the numbers of devotees were huge,” said a cop from Bandra police.
“Many devotees who lose their phones don’t report the theft to us, so it’s hard to get the real picture. Nevertheless, we are working day and night to avert any thefts,” said another officer on bandobast duty.
Meanwhile, all roads leading to the church were overcrowded and there was long jam. People were walking foot to foot and the crowd became an advantage for these thieves. Every year, the Mount Mary Basilica in Bandra welcomes thousands of people on Christmas and New Year. It is one of the most happening places in the city during these festival days. The 250-year-old church and its premises will glitter with festive light and different cultural events, carols and celebrations will take place during Christmas as well as New Year. Thousands of people from within the city as well as outside will flock to the basilica. While the festive spirit soars around Mount Mary, it will be calm and serene inside the church. Special masses and prayers were held during eve.