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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A hidden camera installed at a nationalised bank’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) counter near the Secretariat helped the city police arrest two members of a suspected gang of pickpockets on Thursday.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cantonment, K.S. Gopakumar identified the accused as Kunjumon of Vallakadavu and Basheer of Thoppumpadi in Ernakulam district.
Last week, a constable had reported the theft of his wallet while travelling on a crowded bus. The same day Rs.40,000 was withdrawn from his ATM account at the bank’s counter near Statue. The police checked the recorded video-feed in the hidden camera at the ATM counter and identified Kunjumon. His questioning led to the arrest of Basheer.
The police suspect that there are over 15 members in Kunjumon’s gang. In 2006, he was arrested by the Fort police in connection with a sex-for-money racket. Investigators said the gang members travelled in pairs on buses and trains. The gang’s method of operation was to create congestion in the compartment or inside the bus, allowing their accomplices to pick pockets of unsuspecting victims. The loot is quickly transferred to the other members of the gang who often travel with the main operators. The police suspect the gang to be responsible for over 300 wallet thefts in the State. Efforts were on to arrest the rest of the suspects. The gang met every month at a bar hotel in Thampanoor to share the booty. A team led by Head Constable A. R. Ajith arrested the accused from Ernakulam. They were produced before the court and remanded in judicial custody.
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