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No car is safe

Notorious car thief Bunty aka Devinder Singh is currently in prison but copycat thieves are keeping his dubious legacy alive

Devinder Singh alias Bunty Chor is a notorious thief hailing from Delhi, who is convicted of stealing hundreds of luxury items, cars in particular.

Singh had managed to spread his operations over the North of India, but soon after getting convicted for his crimes there, he had moved to the South and continued there, before getting convicted in Kerala.

However, Delhiites should be warned, as that is not all they will see of Bunty and his crimes. Copycat thieves had cropped up over the past few years, using ‘super-chor’ Bunty as an inspiration.

So, keep those doors properly locked and those windows rolled up. In 2018 alone, a total of 8,538 luxury cars were stolen, of which the police were able to recover only 551. Security in the city is still lacking, and it’s just better to be safe than sorry.

In the beginning of last year, the Delhi Police had managed to nab a man, who was quite evidently following Bunty’s modus operandi. Sahib, or more popularly Sabu, was involved in approximately 1,000 thefts and burglaries all over the country, the Delhi Police said. And almost immediately after he was arrested, about 50 cases had been solved.

Sabu, hailing originally from Uttar Pradesh, was apparently on a mission to beat Bunty’s record, and was committing thefts and robberies of all magnitudes at the rate of three thefts per day. The then DCP of Shahdara, Nupur Prasad had explained how the thief had been nabbed just as a robbery was about to go down. The Mumbai Police were also behind him at the time, chasing him in Delhi.

Prasad revealed that Sabu had admitted to being inspired by the film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!  and has been committing burglaries since he was a teenager. He had been arrested alongside two of his companions.

In November last year, a team of police from Kirti Nagar were able to nab a gang of three, who had come to Delhi from Meerut. And according to Delhi Police reports, the cops were able to solve 1,000 cases of theft and robbery after their timely arrest. The team had stolen 25 cars in a matter of five days, but were finally caught by the police with the help of a GPS installed in one of the vehicles.

Once the three miscreants had been located, a chase of nearly 400 km commenced, which ended in a dump yard in Aurangabad. The trio had tried to flee through some paddy fields, but were caught before they could get too far. The team from Kirti Nagar Police Station was led by Anil Sharma, who was the SHO at the time.

Monika Bhardwaj, who was the DCP West, had revealed in a report that the gang of three preferred luxury cars, but did not walk away from an easy steal. They would change in the engines and number plates and resell the cars in different states.

A third gang led by a man named Safruddin was slightly more high-tech. They had come down from Hyderabad, and had contacts all over the place in Rajasthan, Punjab and UP. Safruddin had tried to flee the police, but was apprehended. He later confessed to having stolen 100 luxury cars in a year. One of the officers on the case revealed that they had prepared themselves with software and gadgets to break into the central locking systems and GPS systems of targeted luxury cars. Safruddin had already been a notorious character in the eyes of the police even prior to his arrest, as he had been involved in a shootout with the cops in June that year, in Vivek Vihar.

According to last year’s Delhi Police data collected up till October, approximately 125 cars were stolen every day of the year. The data also reads that most of the luxury cars were stolen from outside people’s homes. Only a meagre 7 per cent of these cars were being stolen from shared parking lots, and about 5 per cent from outside religious establishments.

And these statistics, according to Madhur Verma, DCP New Delhi, is because owners do not pay enough attention to safety and security measures on their vehicles. Most of these cars were apparently resold in the North-East with fake registration documents.

Turns out that not only are stolen luxury cars a lucrative market, but the demand for luxury car tyres also exists. One of the hotspots being Rajouri Garden and Tagore Garden. These thieves are slightly more difficult to nab. Since making off with a luxury car is tedious, it seems these gangs are trying to make it in the spare parts market. The police claimed that following the incident in mid-November, they had deployed officers in plainclothes, but the thieves are very familiar with the areas they strike.

The sheer number of luxury vehicles going missing is enough to trigger paranoia, and hopefully safety measures on the part of the owners.