Just about an hour ago, I almost fell victim to the “divert and grab” robbery ploy that is now plaguing Bangalore.
I was parked on the main Koramangala road in front of Raheja Arcade waiting for my son who had gone to the Citibank ATM to make a withdrawal. My camera bag was in the rear seat of my Hyundai Santro car.
Suddenly the driver’s side door was popped open by a person walking by and he gestured to a whole bunch of ten rupee notes lying on the road. As I looked down and put one leg out of the car, I suddenly remembered I did not have that many tens on me.
Promptly I turned 270 degrees and saw a man pulling my camera bag out of the rear seat of the car from the rear door opposite the driver’s side. I yelled really loud which caused my son to come running from the ATM and the man to drop the bag and go, running in to the crowd.
Later my son informed me, these type of “divert and grab” robberies which were previously confined to isolated locations, are today widespread in Bangalore, especially in high traffic commercial areas.
He studies in Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and the same modus operandi is employed to divert and grab valuables like tennis racquets, guitars, etc., from cars who come to pick up students after school. Theft occurs on a daily basis. Another diversion tactic, typically at a traffic light, is for one thief to spread a map on the front windshield while the grab takes place in the rear.
Please learn from my almost disaster. I would have lost in excess of $10,000 worth of equipment, had my brain been just one second slower.
Keep ALL your doors locked at ALL times. Even if someone steps out of the car, open the door and then re-lock all your doors immediately. Keep your bags in the trunk of the car, and keep the trunk locked.
A good ending to this incident, the potential thieves left behind Rs. 100 which I picked up. I will use this money to buy biscuits and feed the stray dogs around my office.