February 20, 2012 12:50 IST
A motorcycle gang that has successfully robbed expensive mobile phones from cars on the move, made model and reality TV starlet Poonam Pandey its latest victim on Friday night.
According to cops, members of the gang accost motorists stuck at the busy Adarsh Nagar signal in Andheri (West), and enact a charade to distract them, before grabbing their phones and fleeing.
The gang became a palpable presence on the police's radar when they began receiving complaints of mobile phone robberies, all using the same modus operandi.
A recent strike by the gang, which took place on Friday at around 10.30 pm, left Pandey bereft of her expensive iPhone 4, which costs about Rs. 45,000.
Show on the road
In her complaint lodged at the Oshiwara police station, Pandey said that she was hitching a ride in her friend's Wagon R, from Goregaon to Kokilaben Hospital in Four Bungalows, when the incident took place.
Her friend was driving the car. When they reached the Adarsh Nagar signal, two men on a motorcycle approached her, and knocked on the window. When she rolled down the window, one of the bikers warned her that another motorist was hurling abuses at her. Assuming that the car has hit the irked motorist, she turned around to resolve the situation.
Taking advantage of her distraction, the motorist snatched the iPhone from her dashboard and sped away. It took Pandey a few moments to realise that her phone had been picked up. The man in the other car who had kicked up a fuss had also fled.
When Pandey approached the Oshiwara police station to file her complaint, she was informed that several other robberies had taken place in the area recently, using the same modus operandi.
"I had no idea that the robbers would distract me and flee with my expensive phone the minute I looked away from it. There were several personal photos and private videos stored in the phone, and I'm afraid that it might create a sensation if it landed in the wrong hands," Pandey told MiD DAY.
The police officers investigating the case confirmed that several cases of mobile phone robbery had been reported at the same signal in the recent past.
"We are now on the look out for the gang. We believe that its members have committed several mobile thefts in south Mumbai. We're tracing the gang members and have also increased vigilance at the Adarsh Nagar signal," said an officer from the Oshiwara police station.