Cell phone snatchers trained and hired to work as a team, arrested

Chennai: After the police had tried for nearly two years trying to solve mobile snatching cases, Chennai police arrested eleven men who were hired and trained to snatch mobile phones in the city.

According to the Elephant Gate police in Chennai, the kingpin, S Ravi (27), a native of Andhra Pradesh, had come to the city five years ago and worked as a carpenter. “Three years ago, he was involved in a mobile snatching case and started this as a business. He decided to hire people to do the same as well. Two years ago, he hired and trained ten men — V Nani (19), M Ragulravi (29), S Yesu (25), V Durga (24), T Sayee (24), D Seenu (28), K Rajesh (21), A Mahesh (19), J Venkatesh (27), and J Raju (27) — to snatch mobiles,” said a police official.

He allegedly trained the men to steal mobile phones and set a target to bring at least 50 mobile phones every week. It was found that Ravi paid the men Rs 6,000 every Monday to encourage them and gave the men holidays during weekends and extra perks if they brought back more cell phones.

“The men would operate as a gang of two and used small knives to cut out cell phones from pant pockets stealthily. They were trained in different methods, including using newspapers and pieces of cloth to steal cell phones. For instance, one of the suspects would pretend to be reading a newspaper near the victim and make conversation while the other would steal the cell phone from the unsuspecting victim,” said the police.

The police cracked the case after they traced two men and followed them to observe their exchange of stolen goods with Ravi. Later, police traced Ravi to his house in Sholavaram. The officials arrested him and waited for the ten others to return in the night.

Ravi would collect the stolen cell phones every Friday and return to Andhra where he would sell it to a dealer. The gang mainly targeted passengers in bus stops, buses and railway stations in the city.

Police are further investigating if there are more involved in the operation and if there is a vast network in Andhra Pradesh.

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