Robbers who targeted senior citizens held

Two serial offenders, who would identify and rob senior citizens who would be home alone for the better part of the day, have been arrested by the Thane Rural Police Crime Branch.

According to Crime Branch officials, on July 23, the robbers went to Orchid building in Mira Road posing as couriers, when Pushpa Shukla (70) was alone in her sixth-floor apartment. Once she opened the door, they allegedly forced her into the bedroom at knifepoint and bound and gagged her. They allegedly decamped with cash and valuables worth Rs. 3.35 lakh.

The offence came to light when Ms. Shukla’s son Vikram returned from work in the evening, after which he registered an FIR with the Kashimira police. The Local Crime Branch of the Thane Rural Police was instructed to conduct parallel inquiries into the matter.

“We obtained CCTV footage of the building, which showed the accused entering and leaving. We showed it to our informants, who identified the robbers. We then started tracking their movements using technical and human intelligence and picked up both the suspects on July 27,” police inspector Vyankar Andhale, LCB, Thane Rural Police, said.

While questioning the two — Avinashkumar Shukla (26) and Devendra Atke (19) — the police established their involvement in the crime and placed them under arrest. They were charged with robbery under the Indian Penal Code. Over the next two days, the police recovered cash and jewellery worth Rs. 2.67 lakh from them.

“They are repeat offenders and would obtain information about households where senior citizens would be alone for long periods of time. They would verify this information by keeping watch on the house for a couple of days and identify the best possible time to strike. They have similar cases registered against them, and we are trying to find out if they are also behind other unsolved crimes registered in the Thane Rural Police commissionerate,” Mr. Andhale said.

They have been remanded in police custody till August 1. The police are interrogating them to find out if they have any associates so that they can be arrested.

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