5 held for robbing truck drivers on highways

The Panvel police have nabbed five people, including a minor, in an armed dacoity case. The gang allegedly used to target truck drivers and rob them at knifepoint on deserted highways after stopping them to ask directions. All the accused, except the minor, have criminal cases against them.

"The accused would specifically target truck drivers either resting along the side of highways or isolated spots. They will stop the trucks and ask the drivers for directions, and then distract the truckers and rob them on knifepoint," said Sunil Tarmale, sub-inspector, Panvel police station. Police suspect the gang's involvement in at least three to four cases using the same operandi.

The police was on the lookout for the gang after a truck driver, along with his supervisor and a watchman, were robbed along the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) highway on June 11. The gang decamped with their mobile phones and cash. The accused have been identified as Asif Abdul Khan alias Mental, 23; Nazre Alam Ansari, 21; Mohammed Nauhid Khan, 21; Mohammed Aman Shaikh, 20; Shamshuddin Ansari, 19; and Shahid Khan, 19.

Asif works as a driver, while Shahid sells clothes. The others are unemployed. Asif has nine cases against him, including two cases of attempt to murder.

In 2017, he was also externed from the city limits for a year. The Kherwadi police have arrested Aman and Asif after they were caught by passersby following a robbery in Bandra (East). The duo will be handed over in Panvel police's custody for investigations.

Police also recovered two phones, Rs 26,500 cash, a scooty and a chopping knife from the gang.

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