Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ravindra Yadav told reporters that the groups, known with a street name 'Iranian gangs', were operating in the state impersonating themselves as policemen and robbing aged women of their gold jewellery.
Police have reported a couple of recent cases in which men on motorbikes had approached elderly women asking them to remove gold ornaments for safety reasons. Once the victims removed the piece of jewellery, the men used to pretend to help them in wrapping it and in the process replaced the ornaments with fake ones.
Yadav said these gangs operate pan-India and have been involved in similar cases in some parts of neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka.
"These are basically tribals who have migrated to India from Baluchistan years ago and set up their colonies," the DIG said. Police investigations have revealed that these tribes live in areas like Pune, Aurangabad, Ambarnath (Thane, Maharashtra) and Bidari (Karnataka). Yadav said similar cases were reported from Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka.
Police had to face resistance from the tribals when they went to their colonies to arrest them. Police are in touch with their Pune, Sindhudurg and Karnataka counterparts to nab the culprits, who are on prowl in the state, he said, adding that the gangs usually strike during the forenoon and target aged woman wearing gold.