With the arrest of three persons, Thane police claimed to have cracked the case of a heist at the office of a private gold loan company in Ulhasnagar in which about 30 kg of gold was stolen.
A part of the booty was also recovered from the accused, Thane Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said.
He said 15 more persons were involved in the dacoity and police teams have fanned out across the country in search of them.
Gold jewellery weighing around 28.686 kg, valued at nearly Rs. 7.22 crore, was stolen from Manappuram Finance’s gold loan branch in Ulhasnagar township on December 26 last year.
The thieves had entered the office through a hole and used gas cutters to open the lockers where gold ornaments were kept. They had also tampered with the CCTV surveillance system of the office.
The incident was reported by the company’s staff to Vitthalwadi Police Station. The crime branch of Thane Police had also started a parallel investigation in the case.
Subsequently on January 4, police arrested two of the accused Kamruddin Asuddin Shaikh (28) and Manoj Nurbahadur Saud (35), police said.
Based on a tip-off, police laid a trap and yesterday managed to nab the mastermind–Mustafa alias Akhtar Samsher Shaikh (44)–at Turbhe in Navi Mumbai, Singh said.
Shaikh, hailing from Sahibganj district in Jharkhand, is an expert in carrying out such crimes. The gang had earlier indulged in such heists in Thane, Mumbai and other states as well, police said.
Around 3 kg of gold jewellery was recovered from the three men, they said.
Singh said the gang’s modus operandi was to plant a security guard at the target place and with his help, gather information and commit the offence. In this case also, they had planted a security guard some days prior to the heist.