The Karnataka police have arrested a cop who groomed a gang of bike lifters and recovered 53 bikes worth Rs 77 lakh in Bengaluru on Friday.
Accused Honnappa Duradappa Malagi, Crime Police Constable attached to Vidyaranyapura police station, is the kingpin of the racket.
The police have also booked Ramesha who worked at a cloth shop, and had joined hands with Malagi.
The police are also questioning two minor boys who indulged in bike lifting on the directions of the accused cop.
According to Sanjeev Patil, DCP (West), the accused used to steal two-wheelers in Bengaluru and sell them at throwaway prices in the north Karnataka cities of Davanagere, Ranibennur, Byadagi and other places.
The accused went to portals where second-hand bikes were put on sale and collected the registration numbers. They used to put those registration numbers on the burgled vehicles and sell them to customers.
They used to tell the customers that the documents of the vehicles could not be given as a bank loan had to be repaid.
Whenever the minor boys were caught by the police after a bike theft, the accused used to call up the police and tell them that they are his relatives.
Malagi indulged in a series of bike thefts in Nandini Layout, Yashwanthpur, HMT Layout, Jalagalli Cross, Hebbal, Jnanabharathi, Peenya, Rajagopalnagar and other areas.
The police will hand over three bikes to their owners on Friday.
DCP Patil has appealed to the people to be careful while purchasing vehicles.