The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has arrested a 32-year-old man who would allegedly work for jewellers, win their trust, and decamp after robbing their stores at the first opportunity. The accused is alleged to have committed at least six such offences since 2011.
According to Crime Branch Unit XII officers, inquiries were first initiated against Manish Darji (32) after he targeted a jewellery store in Borivali in 2017. Officers said Mr. Darji started working as domestic help for the store owner in September 2016 and worked for seven months, during which time he slowly won their trust and became indispensable to them.
At the same time, he kept his eyes and ears open and learned where the owner would place the keys to the safe at his store every night. He managed to steal the keys for a night and made a duplicate, after which he returned the original to its place before it was missed, a Crime Branch officer said.
On April 10, 2017, when his employer was out of town and the store shut for a couple of days, Mr. Darji allegedly slipped a sedative in a cup of tea and served it to the owners wife. After she passed out, he called up two of his accomplices and robbed cash and jewellery worth 1.31 crore from the stores safe before fleeing the city.
While the two accomplices were arrested within a month, Mr. Darji was still at large. We started tracking his movements by making inquiries among his friends and relatives, and by visiting all his frequently visited locations, till we found out that he was going to be at the Diamond Market in Malad. We picked him up on Saturday for inquiries, the officer said. Mr. Darji allegedly confessed to having committed the crime and five other offences registered over the last eight years.
So far, we have been able to establish that he committed similar offences in Dindoshi in 2011, Navghar near Vasai in 2012, Vile Parle and VP Road in 2013 and Dharavi in 2016. All the targets were jewellery stores and he started by working as domestic help for the owners, patiently winning their trust before striking, the officer said.
Mr. Darji was arrested following his confession and handed over to the Borivali police for further inquiries.