Colombian gang, who had robbed Karnataka bureaucrat's house, busted
A gang of five, including a woman, was arrested for a series of burglaries they allegedly carried out in Bengaluru last month, said police commissioner T Suneel Kumar. All the accused are from Colombia, and were the ones who robbed former Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee's house in June. 950gms of gold, watches, pens, foreign-currency and Mukherjee's stamp-collection were recovered from them.
The gang members were identified as Jose Edwardo alias Arevalo Burbano (40), Gustavo Adolfo alias Jaramillo Giraldo (47), Yair Aleberto alias Rozer alias Smith Duarte (45), Eduard Alexis alias Garcia Peramo (38) and his partner Kimberly Jhoarya (30). While Jose, Gustavo and Eduard are from Bogota, Yair and Kimberly belong to Medellín and San José respectively, cops said. All of them traveled on tourist-visas.
While Eduard and Kimberly arrived in Bengaluru from Mumbai via Germany, the rest reached Delhi on May 28 via Kathmandu and then landed in Bengaluru. By June first week, all had started staying in service apartments in the city, said cops. Though some reports suggest that the couple stayed in service apartments, but the trio booked themselves a hotel room through Airbnb or OYO.
DCP (South) SD Sharanappa informed the gang then started their preparations by buying a car on OLX and equipment like "electric cutters, welders to melt gold, gloves, crowbars, hammers, knives and other tools to break into houses." For communication, they bought five mobile phones from a mall, along with pre-activated SIM cards, and had already sourced walkie-talkies/radio sets from Mexico.
Explaining their modus operandi, police said, the gang always targeted empty bungalows in posh neighborhoods. A head-scarf clad Kimberly "would ring the doorbell, or pelt stones at the windows to confirm if the house was empty." After her intimation, the four would jump into action. While one man would be inside the car, Kimberly on guard, the rest three would carry out the robbery.
Cops identified them while scanning CCTV footage, leading to their arrests. The hotel and service-apartments, where they stayed, are being raided too. Further investigation revealed a rather prolific educational background of the accused. While Gustavo holds an MBA, Eduard has completed a food course and Kimberly was pursuing a course on foreign trade. However, Jose and Yair had studied just up to high-school.
This isn't the first time the gang targeted Bengaluru. Jose and Gustavo had also visited the city in 2016, where along with an African couple, they robbed some houses, including former MLA Venkatashiva Reddy's. When one of the Africans was nabbed, the Colombians fled. Jose has also admitted to conducting a Rs. 1.2cr jewelry heist at Pride Hotel in 2010, Suneel added.