5 boys under 11 behind theft spree at Chandigarh’s electric vehicle charging stations - Hindustan Times
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5 boys under 11 behind theft spree at Chandigarh’s electric vehicle charging stations

By, Chandigarh
Mar 22, 2024 09:20 AM IST

Police crack case with arrest of two scrap dealers; five juveniles, all aged between 8 and 11, sent for counselling, to be enrolled in school

The theft of equipment worth 1 crore from soon-to-be launched electric vehicle charging stations earlier this month was the handiwork of five boys, aged between 8 and 11, said police.

Police have recovered several stolen electronic parts, although they have been rendered useless. (HT)
Police have recovered several stolen electronic parts, although they have been rendered useless. (HT)

Tempted by quick money, the five juveniles sold the costly equipment to two scrap dealers for just a few thousand bucks, encashing 6,000 in all.

After facing flak from multiple corners, a red-faced Chandigarh Police finally cracked the case with the arrest of the two scrap dealers, who have been booked for receiving stolen property under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

The stolen property, including seven motherboards, miniature circuit breakers, electric meters, iron covers and chargers, has been recovered from their possession, although they have been rendered useless.

The five boys, who were captured in CCTV cameras making off with the equipment, including motherboards and charging guns, have been recommended counselling by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

Police said as the boys were so young, they cannot be put in custody in a juvenile home.

On police recommendation, the board will also get them enrolled in a school, as they have never received education and only loiter around all day, said DSP Charanjit Singh Virk, adding that police have also counselled the boys and spoken to their families.

Police had registered a case in this regard on March 18 on the complaint of TC Nautiyal, director, environment, UT, who had reported theft of equipment from EV charging stations installed at the Sector 42 Lake and Palm Garden.

During investigation, with the help of technical and human intelligence, police zeroed in on the juveniles, who revealed that they had sold the stolen articles to scrap dealers Ganga Ram, a resident of Jhampur Colony, Mohali; and Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 41. Both used to buy scrap in Palsora.

On sustained interrogation, the scrap dealers confessed to their involvement in the crime and disclosed that they had been purchasing stolen articles from children in exchange for small amount of money. They further disclosed that some other stolen articles related to charging guns had been sold to other scrap dealers.

Police said Mukesh was previously working as an Ola driver. After his father fell ill, he took over his scrap business in Palsora. The two scrap dealers were produced before a court and remanded to one-day police custody.

Boys were tempted by quick money coming from selling scrap

Police said the juveniles are residents of Adarsh Colony in Sector 54 and their parents work as labourers. In January, after a fire at the furniture market in Sector 52, they picked up some discarded items that they took to scrap dealers. “They managed to sell some metal pieces from the burnt remains for 150 to 200, which they spent on eating out. This tempted them to steal more metal,” said DSP Charanjit Singh Virk.

In the present case, the group used to commit theft in the evening hours, striking daily between March 4 and 12, as per CCTV footage perused by police.

“On scanning the CCTV footage, we were shocked to find young children stealing the equipment. We soon identified them and then followed the trail to the scrap dealers,” he said.

Sector 36 SHO inspector Om Parkash said the boys dismantled the charging guns and after removing the cover, sold the copper wires. “One boy says he got 200 once, another says he got 150. We suspect the entire equipment was sold for somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000,” he said.

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