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Old 6th June 2011, 18:44   #1
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Default Mumbai-Pune Expressway : 'Mechanic Thieves'

READ BELOW STORY FROM TODAY'S (6 JUNE) PUNE MIRROR ABOUT HOW MECHANICS DO ROBBERY ON E-WAY.

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Friendly e-way mechanics are the new robbing hoods

Operating between Panvel and Vashi on the Expressway, these highway robbers stop cars by throwing smoking camphor, then pretend to be mechanics and charge a bomb for ‘repairs’
There is a new fear stalking the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and it clothes itself in mechanic-speak. Experiencing this first hand and probably the first to bring it to light is the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune’s deputy commandant, Dr Pramod Yadav.
A gang of innovative highway robbers are operating on the stretch between Panvel and Vashi, pretending to be mechanics and even offering help. Their ingenious modus operandi involves throwing burning camphor, or sometimes oil on moving cars at night, and then telling drivers their car is either emitting smoke or leaking oil.
When the alarmed motorist stops, the gang members pose as mechanics and offer to fix the vehicle. They then call in “help” and pretend to change parts.
Their charges: anything between Rs 10-15,000. Most motorists are more than happy not to be stuck without technical help on the E-way, and pay up. It’s only when they take their cars for servicing or a check-up that they realise nothing has been repaired, no parts have been hanged, and what’s more, nothing was wrong with their car that night.
This is the trap that Yadav fell for. The Assam Rifles officer, who is at AFMC for two years to undergo a medical course, and his deputy commandant wife D Chakravarti were travelling from Mumbai to Pune on June 1. They were with their nephew Gurdeep and his parents after meeting Yadav’s brother, admitted to the Tata Memorial Cancer Research Institute.
Around 10.30 pm, at a point between Vashi and Panvel, Yadav slowed down when a youth standing beside the E-way signalled frantically to him to stop. When he rolled down the window, the youth told him his car was emitting sparks, and added that he was a mechanic working in a garage located nearby.
“I alighted, but couldn’t spot any sparks. The youth told me to open my bonnet and offered to check it for me. I thought it was a god-send — almost midnight and a mechanic who spotted my car emitting sparks,” he told Pune Mirror.
Yadav said, “After two minutes, two more boys came up claiming they were mechanics from a nearby Maruti authorised servicing centre. They opened the bonnet of my car and asked me to start the engine. When I was entering the car, they quickly unplugged the spark plug, and I totally unaware of it. Of course, the car didn’t start.

When I came out again, I saw sparks coming out from the engine. They told me the engine was about to catch fire, and convinced me that two parts were burnt and required immediate replacement, without which the car will catch fire. They took me to a building nearby, saying it was a garage and told me to call the garage owner called Vishal Gupta, who would be able to arrange for the parts there itself.”
When he spoke to Gupta, he was told that the parts would be sent in five minutes. In lesser time than that, a boy came over with parts, saying he has been sent by Gupta. “The boy with him pretended to replace the part, but he didn’t do a thing. It was quite dark. He must have rejoined the start plug cable only, because the car started immediately.
“I was told that guarantee papers and receipt will be sent by courier as it was quite late now. They also told him that they know Maruti authorised servicing centres in Pune, and that Gupta would be coming to Pune in two days. It was late at night, and we went to a nearby ATM to pay them the Rs 15,000 they demanded as their charges and for the parts replaced.
The very next day, when Yadav checked with the Maruti service centre in Camp, they told him that many have been cheated like this and he might be “case number 70 or 80”. They checked his car and told him that nothing had been replaced, and that nothing can be replaced in this car in 10 minutes. They narrated similar stories of loot to him.
When Yadav tried to call up the “mechanics” numbers, they turned out to be false. Yadav then approached Commissioner of Police Meeran Boravankar and narrated the entire story to her. Borwankar immediately handed the case over to the Crime Branch.
Inspector Bhanupratap Barge of the Crime Branch, said, “ It is a new modus operandi adopted by highway robbers. It could be the same gang that was operating near the Amrutanjan bridge last year, which was busted by Panvel police. Earlier, they would puncture tyres by throwing nails on the road and then robbed stranded motorists.
Brijesh Patil, works manager at Wonder Cars in Camp, said, “Such cases have been reported to us and are mostly related to replacement of coils on the E-way by mechanics. It has also been reported that they are charging more money by taking advantage at night.
A number of such cases have been reported to our Chinchwad showroom too. Our mechanics have been asked to alert people to not believe such claims.” Dilip Bhujbal, Superintendent of Highway Police, said, “People should alert us at the Control Room if they are suspicious.
The highway police patrols the E-way between 8 pm and 8 am. There are other options to get help in case of breakdowns. However, we are taking the help of police stations along the E-way to study this new modus operandi.”
The new modus operandi
Burning camphor is thrown on the car hood to create smoke
A small ball filled with oil is thrown on the car to show that the oil pipe is leaking
They may remove the spark plug without knowledge of the car owner to show a problem with coils
Tricks include damage to silencer pipes
The boy pretended to replace the part, but didn’t do a thing. It was dark. He must have rejoined the start plug
Link to this story at
Friendly e-way mechanics are the new robbing hoods, News - Latest - Pune Mirror,Pune Mirror

Last edited by Technocrat : 7th June 2011 at 03:16. Reason: Added quotes to the quoted story
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Old 6th June 2011, 19:04   #2
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

These gangs are quite common in Mumbai. Usually I found them on Western Highway in Bandra and around Jogeshwari.

Its Sad that these gangs have targeted expressway since people will feel more desperate on road between cities.
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Old 6th June 2011, 21:50   #3
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

Thanks for sharing. I have heard of this type of hood-winking experiences from friends of friends. One must admit the modus-operandi speaks of an highly professional organization.

Lets remember our modern day cars are far more reliable and stronger than ever. If simple things like engine check light, eps light does not turn on, temperature shooting over normal limits does not occur, nothing is wrong with the car, specially when it is running fine.
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Old 6th June 2011, 22:06   #4
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

One correction: between Panvel and Vashi is not the "expressway", it is the Sion-Panvel Highway. Is this really as common as they are making it out to be?
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Old 6th June 2011, 22:41   #5
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

At least in City, its quite common. Specially in areas where traffic moves slowly, E.g. Western Highway and Sion/Bandra.
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Old 6th June 2011, 23:32   #6
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

This technique is quite common in many parts of the city.
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Old 7th June 2011, 01:03   #7
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

I was also stopped once by a guy when I was waiting at the andheri chakala signal. He said that there were sparks coming out from the car bonnet. I stopped immediately but could not see sparks, he told me to open the bonnet, as I went inside he removed some plugs form the engine(don't know which) and there were sparks. The guy said he was a mechanic and a part needs to be replaced and will cost 5000/- Rs. Something suddenly struck my mind and I knew that these guys were trying to fool me. I told them that I will leave the car at side and call towing van to take it to my home. But I started the car and drove home. when driving there was some problem when engine was not revving and car used to stop suddenly something like the car was gasping for more air.
Next day morning I called a local mechanic to check the engine and he refixed the pipes and everything was fine.
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Old 7th June 2011, 01:19   #8
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

@swapnil.rahate

He must have removed the spark plug wire from one or at the most two cylinders, since that allowed you to drive the car.

Next time you find such people, ask them to pose for a photo and then just mention that you are a son/brother of a Police cop and invite them over to Police station to fix more cars.
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Old 7th June 2011, 03:01   #9
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Default Re: Pune-Mubai e-way - Story in Pune Mirror about mechanic robbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado View Post
@swapnil.rahate

He must have removed the spark plug wire from one or at the most two cylinders, since that allowed you to drive the car.

Next time you find such people, ask them to pose for a photo and then just mention that you are a son/brother of a Police cop and invite them over to Police station to fix more cars.
I am waiting for an opportunity to find these guys again.
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Old 7th June 2011, 15:55   #10
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Default re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway : 'Mechanic Thieves'

Would love to see what they do in case the car is a diesel one.The look on their face when they open the hood will be priceless!
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Old 7th June 2011, 16:19   #11
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Unhappy re: Mumbai-Pune Expressway : 'Mechanic Thieves'

Its sad to know that such things happen within the city limits too, will keep in mind. Thanks for sharing the info.

One thing though, does it mean that the traffic cops dont patrol the mentioned area ever and in the nights? Also why isn't this issue highlighted in Mumbai papers but in Pune?
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Old 21st January 2014, 09:44   #12
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Default Cheating on Mumbai Pune Expressway

This happened to a friend of mine, Kamlesh, recently on the expressway. He asked me to post this on team bhp to make every one aware. Am not sure if this happened in the past but i have a feeling that it should have!

Cheating on Mumbai Pune Expressway
-------------------------------------------------
& My First Expressway Experience
-------------------------------------------------

I was coming back from a trip to Kashid yesterday night around 7:30 PM with my friend and our families. We decided to take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to reach Pune faster as we had two kids with us who were being impatient to reach home. There was considerable traffic in Khandala ghat. Me and my friend, who was driving his new Swift VXI (ODO reading 7000 KM total), were both on the expressway for the first time so we were a bit nervous.

As we were progressing in Khandala ghat, the traffic was being denser and slow. At one of the uphills, the car's engine got stopped due of the lack of synchronization between clutch and gear. Within seconds of the car got stopped and before we try to start it again, two guys appeared in front of us and told us that the clutch of your car has gone, it won't start. My friend tried starting the car but the car was being pulled backwards on the slope and hence he again put the parking breaks on. Meanwhile these guys, claiming themselves as mechanics, started redirecting the traffic coming from back telling them that this car has some problems and asking my friend to get down and let them take car to the side of the road. We really got nervous with all these happenings and thought to first let that guy take the car in the side of the road (we were in the second lane from right in the four lane express way).

I was sure that there is no problem with the car and the guy, who claimed himself to be a mechanic, will take the car to the side using full accelerator and full clutch at the same time or something like that. And guess what he did exactly the same. He took the car to the side, opened the bonnet. We were shocked to see lots of smoke and smell coming out of the engine. Meanwhile we also spotted one more car 10 meters behind us in the same condition with some work going on with that. Those two guys claimed that we were driving the car all the way with the clutch in bad condition and now the clutch plates are gone. He told that it will take 2.5 hours to repair and Rs. 9500. We asked him to let us think and leave us alone for some time. Meanwhile my friend called the Maruti Service Support and asked them to send someone at that place. After few minutes that guy came back to us start telling us that there is no point in waiting as clutch is gone, and it's not like car got heated and will start in sometime. We asked him about towing the vehicle and he said it would cost Rs. 5000-6000, if you want to get it towed to Pune.

By that time my doubt of getting cheated was getting stronger and I again asked him to tell us finally how much time and money it is going to cost. I have also asked him whether he had all the spare parts to repair the car at the same place. He then changed his stance and told me that no part change is needed, the clutches have been stuck together and he will fix that in next 20-30 minutes. He asked for Rs. 2500 for this. He had also noticed us calling the Maruti Service Support. By this time I was sure that this guy is taking advantage of our situation as we were trapped on the "infamous" Mumbai-Pune expressway with two families and two kids. Both kids had started crying impatiently by that time. I asked my friend to let me try to start and move the car for couple of meters so that I can make sure there is a problem. Those cheaters, so called mechanics, started warning us saying even if we manage to start the car, it will stop after 100-500 meters and no one will be there to help us. They also warned us that there will be more damage to the car in that case.

But ignoring those guys, I took the driving seat, asked my friend to close the bonnet and sit inside. By that time there was no smoke in the engine. When I started the car, I didn't notice any warning indication shown by car which boosted my confidence. I raised the accelerator and that's it, we saved ourselves from those cheats. The car was running as smooth as butter and I managed a speed of 80-100 KMph. In next half an hour we were off the highway and entered into Pune with a big sigh of relief. Albeit, we safely got away from this, the incident didn't allow us to sleep for a long time.

I would also like to appreciate the response by Maruti Service as in 10-15 minutes of calling them we got the call from a local technician informing that they were about to leave for the spot. Once we confirmed all is well, they asked us to call back in case we find any issue with the car. After half an hour we received one more call from Maruti, confirming whether the problem got resolved.

I am sharing this to make sure people are aware of this and avoid such situations

Last edited by JayKis : 21st January 2014 at 09:45.
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Old 21st January 2014, 11:41   #13
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Thumbs up Re: Cheating on Mumbai Pune Expressway

These scammers are back again? I remember that a few years back such gangs were prolific with a lot of reported cases but I hadn't heard of anything like this in recent times and that too on the Xpressway.

Their MO used to be 'sir aapka ignition coil jal gaya hai'. It seems like they've now graduated to clutch plates and I can safely assume that eventually it'll be 'aapka turbo ghum nahi raha'

I'm glad that your friend and his family managed to escape the situation safely and unscathed (physically as well as financially). While none of the roads in India are guaranteed safe, the expressway carries adequate traffic even during night time and he could have easily flagged down any passing motorist or even called the highway helpline in case. It was wise on his part to call Maruti Support.

BTW, do tell him to get the car inspected and root out the problem as he mentioned having seen smoke and smell emanating from the engine.
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Old 21st January 2014, 11:53   #14
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Default Re: Cheating on Mumbai Pune Expressway

So he basically fried the clutch while moving it to the side of the road using 'full accelerator' while slipping the clutch. That caused the smell and smoke.
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Old 21st January 2014, 12:08   #15
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Default Re: Cheating on Mumbai Pune Expressway

So was the clutch really damaged (did he get it checked from the workshop)?
What was the smoke and burning smell all about?

How can the clutch get burnt on upslope - unless one has a tendency to not release it after slotting the gear (riding with half clutch)?

Last edited by alpha1 : 21st January 2014 at 12:09.
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