Police arrest gang of thieves operating as scrap collectors

Kathmandu, July 8

Police have arrested a gang of thieves, who were allegedly involved in burgling unattended houses and rented rooms in Kathmandu valley, under the guise of scrap collectors.

According to Metropolitan Police Crime Division, the gang of Karan Poddar, 19, and Suraj Poddar, 17, of the Indian state of Bihar were caught in the act of making off with cash, jewellery and other valuables worth around Rs 3.1 million from the house of Sony Shrestha in Dallu residential area on Friday afternoon.

Superintendent of Police Narendra Prasad Upreti said they had arrived in Kathmandu from Motihari and Samastipur districts of Bihar by forming different groups to target unattended houses. Police have seized Rs 72,472, US dollar 1,135, diamond rings, gold ornaments, Canadian dollar 55, an iron hook used for breaking padlock and 78 tablets of prescription drugs, including phenergan, dizelab and noorphin, among others, from the duo.

They operated in an organised way and made off with cash, jewellery and electronic gadgets. The gang used to go to different places of the valley in the morning and day hours to identify easy targets, carrying bags on the pretext of collecting scrap goods before burglary in an opportune time. The stolen goods used to be taken to India for sale. Police said they were searching for members of other groups.

SP Upreti informed that Poddars were handed over to Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, for legal action. In December 2017, police had busted a gang of seven persons, including six Poddars, who adopted the same modus operandi and admitted that they had come to Kathmandu, only for the purpose of theft. Many of the gang members told the police that they had purchased land and built houses in India with the money they collected by burgling houses in the valley.

According to Metropolitan Police Office, as many as 521 cases of property crimes were recorded in the valley in the fiscal 2016-17 compared to 419 so far this fiscal. Criminals have been making houses and rooms their soft target during office hours when house owners and tenants leave their abode for daily work. Police said nearly 60 per cent of the crime took place in broad daylight in unattended houses and rented rooms.