Colombian gang had used fake passports, hatched plan in Bogota

By PTI Published on Jul 24, 2018 10:04 AM IST

Bengaluru: The five Colombian burglars, who were arrested a week ago, had come to India on fake passports and hatched their plan to rob apartments here at Bogota, police said.

The gang members are Jose Edwardo (40), Gustavo Adolfo (47), Yair Alberto (45), Eduard Alexis (38) and a woman, Kinberly Jhoarya (30).

They were involved in at least six cases of burglary in posh localities like Jayanagar, JP Nagar, Sadashivanagar and HSR Layout, police said.

Police had seized stolen booty worth Rs 80 lakh from them, which include 950 grams of gold ornaments, foreign currencies,expensive watches, pens and two cars.

The gang members from the Colombian capital of Bogota, who were arrested on 17 July, used to target bungalows in posh localities when the owners were out of station.

They were equipped with all necessary weapons to break into houses. Their latest target was the house of former chief secretary Kaushik Mukherjee.

"Gustavo Adolfo alias Jaramillo and Jose Edwardo were familiar with this city as they had struck this city twice - in 2010 and 2016.

They had burgled the Pride Hotel in Ashokanagar (2010) and the residence of a former MLA Shivashankar Reddy," Jayanagar police inspector S P Uma Mahesh told PTI.

The tech city helped them in the best possible manner to carry out their operation as it was the technology that helped them in identifying their service apartment besides hiring a car, the inspector said. He said they booked the apartment using a web based apartment booking application sitting in Bogota.

On landing here, they hired a car and sold it on an online portal, he said, adding, they then purchased two cars.

The gang was so meticulous in its operation that they preferred using walkie-talkies than mobile phones, which they had purchased in Mexico, the inspector said.

As the gang had put the car on sale on an online portal, this enabled police to track them down. The gang members tried to resist arrest but police overpowered them. Except for one, the gang members did not know English, he said.

"We had to hire a Spanish translator to interrogate them.Finally, they confessed. We have not come across their activities anywhere else in India other than Bengaluru," he said.

They chose Bengaluru because it is a globally recognised city, he said. During interrogation, police came to know that Gustavo had spent 16 years in prison for killing a police officer while Jose was arrested for possessing a fire weapon illegally, the inspector said.

They all came in contact with each other at a restaurant in Bogota. "Kinberly ran the restaurant while Edwardo was her chef.Later, they got married. ..Eduard Alexis was known to them." he said.

Police were also questioning Safeer Ahammed P M, who owned the service apartment at Bilavarahalli near Konanakunte in thecity where the gang took shelter.

Information has been sent to the Colombian embassy about the arrest of its five nationals, the inspector said.