More than 30 people, including prostitutes, who allegedly operated a ring in relieving people of their valuables, in the Pettah area, have been rounded up by the Police.
Pettah Police Crimes Inspector A.G.T.B. Wijeratne told the Sunday Times that the women allegedly lured young males waiting for outstation buses at the Central Bus Stand, and relieved them of their valuables.
He said that, in certain instances, the unsuspecting victims had been taken to lodges and relieved of their valuables by suddenly shouting that the police had arrived. “Most of the victims panic and run away, leaving their belongings behind,” he added.
“They usually operate from 7 p.m. onwards at the private and CTB bus stands, mainly targeting passengers travelling long distances,” he said.
He said that usually they operate in gangs befriending would-be victims, escorting them to another location, usually in Pettah, Fort or Maradana.
Inspector Wijeratne said recently a youth employed in the North had arrived in Colombo and was waiting for a bus, when a woman dressed in jeans and using an expensive mobile phone, had approached him. After a brief conversation, the woman had taken him to a lonely location. While there, she had suddenly shouted that the police were coming and the youth fled. Later he found his purse was missing.
The victim had given a description of the woman to Pettah police. This in turn had enabled police to arrest the woman at a location in Thotalanga, where she was reportedly using drugs.
“The youth had been left without any money even for his bus fare, but since the purse containing Rs 25,000 was recovered, he was very fortunate,” the inspector said.
The woman was produced in courts and sentenced to a two-year prison term suspended for five years.
In another instance, a woman arrested on suspicion, had revealed on interrogation that, she was involved in a racket of posing off as a prostitute and relieving people of their valuables. Police said that she had claimed she would net in about six men daily.
Inspector Wijeratne said that the woman’s bank book showed a balance of Rs 2.5 million.
He said there was also a gang of males who befriended young girls in the Pettah area, took them to lodges and relieved them of their cash and jewellery.
In some cases they had drugged the girls before robbing them of their valuables and escaping.
In this connection six males had been arrested and remanded, he said.