Diamonds stolen from bank lockers by making duplicate keys

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Mumbai, Jan 19 (PTI) Four persons, including a realestate agent and a diamond trader, have been arrested forstealing diamonds worth Rs 4.40 crore from lockers of a StateBank of India branch by making as many as 15 duplicate keys.

For making duplicate of a single key, the gang had tolabour for three months, police said today.

Real estate agent Shamshuddin Azmi (47), diamond traderAjay Mehta (48), key-maker Fareed Hashmi (47) and theirassociate Chandrasen Berde (49) were arrested yesterday andcourt remanded them to police custody till January 25.

The stolen diamonds have been recovered from Mehta''sresidence in Valsad, Gujarat, police said.

The gang first hired locker in the branch. Then, asinstructed by Hashmi, his three aides visited the lockersroom, inserted blank keys in the keyholes of lockers to getimpressions that helped him make duplicates, said Joint PoliceCommissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy.

"Hashmi prepared one common custodian key applicable toall 1800 lockers in the branch, and 14 duplicate customers''keys over the period of three years. They opened 14 lockers byadopting this unique modus operandi and stole Rs 4.40crore-worth diamonds," he added.

A case of theft was registered in April last year in D BMarg Police Station by diamond trader Mehul Doshi, who statedthat his diamonds worth Rs 1.65 crore deposited in safetylocker of the Opera House branch of SBI had been stolen.

Initially, local police could not achieve anybreak-through, so case was closed, Roy said. .

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