Truck robbery: Thieves target vehicles on the move

Photos showing a truck that was robbed. Credit: Harish Bhardwaj, general manager, operations, STC Logistics

A group of highway thieves in Karnataka has been robbing trucks on Bengaluru-Hubballi-Goa route (NH-48) by employing a set of daring manoeuvres.

On Friday night, five trucks loaded with e-commerce online sale products such as smartphones, laptops and other gadgets — bolt-sealed in containers — were cut open, broken into and robbed while the trucks were on the move to different destinations from Bengaluru.

All the five trucks, plying for STC Logistics Pvt Ltd, are stranded at different locations with drivers finding it difficult to lodge complaints as the police are confused over jurisdiction, claiming that the crimes happened on the move.

“Each truck is loaded with items worth Rs 20-30 lakh. On a single night, we have been robbed of gadgets worth at least Rs 5-6 lakh,” said Harish Bhardwaj, general manager, operations, STC Logistics.

“There is an organised gang behind these robberies which we suspect is from Bankapur (about 50 km from Hubballi), but the police are unwilling to take our complaint citing jurisdictional boundaries. They are also not sure where the robberies happened,” he said.

The gang members look for container trucks from Bengaluru moving on the 52-km stretch from Bankarpur towards Hubballi, Bhardwaj said.

The trucks are identified based on the bolt seals behind the containers. The bolt seals can be removed only by special cutters, said Bhardwaj, a senior in the logistics industries.

The gang members follow the truck in three vehicles. A bike tails the truck, while a bigger vehicle follows close behind. A large vehicle remains at the back to ensure that the robbery is not seen by other vehicles behind.

Once the biker adjusts his speed with that of the truck, the pillion rider stands on the moving bike and cuts open the bolt seal with a long-handled cutter.

Once the door is opened, he climbs the moving truck and enters the container.

Soon, the gadgets are picked and thrown into a pick-up truck that follows the bike. The big vehicle behind the pick-up truck covers the robbery from other commuters on the highway.

Truck drivers get to know of the tampering and robberies when they stop their vehicles for refreshment or taking rest. While they approach the police, the police send them away saying the offence could have happened at another district on the way.

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