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Thane police crack theft case using time-consuming investigation tool

Thane : A Kandivali resident Rutu Nagaria registered a complaint of theft of her laptop, cell phone and purse from her car at Thane Nagar police station on October 14. In the absence of CCTV footage and eyewitnesses, the Thane Nagar police turned to a tedious and time-consuming tool of investigation called Dump Data Analysis to solve a theft case in their jurisdiction last week. The six-day long investigation led the police to three accused wanted not only in their own case but also in more than 50 other cases in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, officials said.

Rutu Nagaria’s belongings were stolen from her car, which was parked at Tembhi Naka the previous evening. Nagaria said in her complaint that the unidentified accused had smashed the rear window of her car while she was in a meeting and fled with her valuables.

“There are no CCTV cameras covering the spot where the complainant’s car was parked, and we could not find any eye witnesses who might have noticed suspicious movements around the car either. With no other leads, we turned to Dump Data Analysis to see if it could yield any clues,” senior police inspector Ramrao Somvanshi, Thane Nagar police station, said.

The investigating team obtained data about all cell phone numbers that had passed through the range of the cellular towers providing network to the spot where the car was parked and started going through them. All numbers that had stayed in the same range before and after the crime were eliminated on the assumption that the accused would not stay close to the scene of the crime after committing the theft.

Next, the police started checking call records of all the remaining numbers to see if they had called each other, and using this method, isolated three numbers that were frequently in touch with each other before, after and on the day of the offence. Further analysis also confirmed that the three numbers were present in the same area multiple times over a large period of time, indicating that the owners of the numbers were frequently together.

“We obtained details of these numbers including the names and addresses of their owners. Based on this information, we identified a house in Navi Mumbai and kept a watch on it for three days before we moved in and picked up the first suspect,” an officer who is part of the investigation said.

The suspect, identified as Yusuf Sheikh (37), was brought to the police station and questioned and allegedly confessed to the offence. He also revealed the identities of his two accomplices, Shera Chauhan (39) and Kasim Qureshi (34), both residents of Mumbai. All the three accused were placed under arrest on Wednesday.

The police also recovered two stolen laptops worth ₹3.5 lakh from the accused. However, they had already stripped Nagaria’s laptop and sold the parts, officers said.

“Further inquiries have revealed that Sheikh has seven cases of a similar nature registered against him in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, while Chauhan has 37 cases and Qureshi, nine. We have informed the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai police about their arrest so that they can seek custody of the accused for inquiries in their cases,” Somvanshi said.

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