MUMBAI, SEPT 18: The crime branch has arrested their most elusive catch, housebreaker Deepak Bajare alias Sanjay Patil, from Mulund on Thursday.
Following a tip-off, the crime branch sleuths laid a trap at Sarvodaya, M. G Road at Mulund and swooped down on him, while Patil was driving his Maruti car.
Panic had spread among the residents in north-east Mumbai area and in some localities of Navi Mumbai after a series of housebreaks in which the most secure locks were broken open and cash and ornaments were stolen. Owing to similar modus operandi in all cases police suspected involvement of the same gang.
However, it turned out that it was the work of one man. The advantage of working alone had helped Patil in evading the police dragnet all through this year. The police managed to solve over 30 housebreaking thefts in Powai, Marol and Bhandup areas and equal number in Vashi and other areas of New Mumbai.
Although Patil had confessed to amassing property worth over Rs 40 lakh so far, the police believe itto be worth more than a crore rupees.
Patil's modus operandi was simple. First he carried out a reconnaissance visit of locked houses and flats in the area which he used to visit in the guise of a family friend. Immaculately dressed, Patil used to drive around in his Maruti car to avoid suspicion.
Later, he struck while the residents were away. He gained entrance with the help of a bare screwdriver by prising open even the most complicated locks. He reportedly never spent more than 10 minutes in any flat including the time spent on cracking the lock. He was on the wanted list since 1994. Earlier, he was arrested by the Kashimira police in Thane rural area.
Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.