KOLKATA: A day after six wheels were stolen from three sedans parked in Salt Lake, police arrested two Class XII dropouts while they were allegedly attempting to steal wheels from another vehicle in a separate block in Salt Lake in the early hours of Friday. They reportedly stole the wheels to fund their pocket money and buy expensive mobiles and motorbikes before Durga Puja. Each alloy wheel and tyre costs around Rs 16,000-Rs 18,000. The duo was produced in a Salt Lake court on Friday which remanded them in police custody for seven days.
Sonu Thakur, 23, and Mandip Shaw, 18, had just come out of a silver Maruti Omni and were about to set a jack under a sedan parked on the roadside at DL Block when a team of officers on night patrol, led by sub-inspector Raja Chakraborty, caught them red handed. Police said the two come from respectable families and have allegedly confessed to committing the crime.
A car jack and a wheel wrench were found with them along with a set of bricks inside the car. “The youths have confessed to have stolen 11 wheels from Salt Lake in the last few days. On Wednesday night, they had stolen wheels from three different cars. We had some leads after scanning the CCTV footage of the areas from where the wheels were stolen and had found a Maruti Omni suspiciously driving around the alleys. On Thursday night, we saw the car entering the township again and tailed it to DL Block and caught the two in the act,” said an officer.
Police said Thakur is a resident of Prasanna Kumar Tagore Street in Jorabagan and Shaw alias Chiku lives on Pathuriaghata Street, in the same area. Thakur’s father runs a catering company while Shaw’s father owns a grocery store in Girish Park.
Cops said the two have been friends for long and had recently bought the Omni from a Behala resident. They used it to steal wheels from cars in and around Salt Lake and Lake Town. They have told cops that they sold the wheels to shops in the Mullickbazar area. “The duo has a history of car wheel thefts. We have found three stolen wheels in their possession and will question them further to know the whereabouts of the other stolen items,” said Kunal Agarwal, deputy commissioner (headquarters) of Bidhannagar City Police.
Cops said the accused had come prepared with a jack to lift the car and a wrench to unscrew the nuts so that the wheels could be removed. They had even brought bricks to place the car on. They also stole the nuts with the wheels. Three cases of theft have been issued against them in Bidhannagar North and Bidhannagar East police stations.
The victims of their theft have already written to the insurance companies to replace the wheels. “I have made an application for a new set of wheels, but I am certain it’s going to take time to be approved. My car is still stranded outside, the way the thieves had left it,” said Gaurav Datta, a resident of AE Block.
His neighbour Anand Todi, who had also lost two wheels of his car, was all praise for the cops. “It’s great to see how cops have busted the gang in such a short time. Now I hope I get my wheels back,” he said.
(With inputs from Mayukh Sengupta)