THE MUMBAI crime branch has arrested two alleged members of an interstate highway robbery gang, who looted a tempo of MI phones worth Rs 69 lakh in Karnataka last month and came to the city to sell them.
The gang members, who hail from a nomadic tribe in Madhya Pradesh, specialise in highway robbery, the police said.
A crime branch officer said that their alleged role in three other highway robberies in various states have also come to the fore.
DCP Datta Nalawade said that based on the information of senior inspector Manish Sridhankar, a team led by inspector Sridhar Jadhav apprehended two persons with a tempo from Garodiya Nagar in Ghatkopar on Tuesday.
The police checked the temp and found that it was carrying 25 boxes of MI phones worth over Rs 69 lakh. The two accused, Ritesh Kasera and Vijay Shetty, were questioned. They told the police that the phones had been procured from Kolar district of Karnataka.
The police in Kolar were contacted, and they were informed about a robbery of mobile phones from Mulbagal-Kolar highway on August 5.
After confirming that the mobile phones in the tempo were those that had been looted, the police arrested the duo. An officer said that a team from Karnataka police will be coming to the city to take custody of the accused. An officer said that the role of the two arrested persons was to dispose of stolen property.
Sridhankar said the gang has been involved in highway robberies over the past few years. They usually get a tip-off from the company that a consignment of goods has left and its location. Accordingly, the gang members hide in a forested stretch along the route and force the driver to stop.
They then overpower the driver and his helper, tie them up and throw them in the jungle. They then transfer the goods to another tempo and flee.
Sridhankar said that the role of the gang had come to the fore in at least three cases of similar nature, where goods including cigarettes and mobile phones worth crores were stolen.