BENGALURU: For about six months, Prabhu, Arun Sai, Karthik N and a minor accomplice stole an average of one bike every week. Their happy hunting grounds were Bengaluru’s Electronic City, HSR Layout, BTM Layout and other posher localities on the city outskirts.
They were an assorted gang. Prabhu was 21, a native of Vellore district in Tamil Nadu and an engineering graduate. Arun Sai was the same age but still in his second year of PUC, and Karthik N (18) was doing his B.Com. Both were residents of Doddanagamangala. The minor cannot be identified.
Prabhu was the main man but all four of them were YouTube fans. They were so ardent they learnt the art of stealing bikes from YouTube videos. They would browse for the most innovative and easiest ways to steal bikes. They learnt to cut the ignition wire and break the locks of vehicles inside a minute.
They scouted localities on scooters at nights and identified high-end vehicles parked outside houses. Their favourite time of operation was 3 am to 6 am. Once a bike was in the bag, Prabhu would take it to his home town Vellore and sell it.
Prabhu told buyers the vehicles belonged to his friends and had been seized by private financiers for loan defaults. He would tell them he would give the documents later. Many fell for it because the bikes came cheap, some as low as Rs 10,000.
Following frequent two-wheeler theft cases in Electronic City, HSR Layout and BTM Layout, a the Bengaluru police set up a special team to stake out the localities. Very soon, Prabhu and the wee-hour bicycle thieves were in the dragnet, said Electronic City ACP Surya Narayana Rao.
When caught, Prabhu and gang still had a huge inventory: one Honda CBR, six Royal Enfields and 14 Bajaj Pulsar bikes.