An unsuspecting entrepreneur. A mode of transport. Accomplices in the crowd.
These are the three ingredients being used for a brand new method of theft in the capital.
On May 12 around 3:28pm, Jahid Khan Nadim was on a rickshaw to Babu Bazar. He had just bought 105 dresses from Old Dhaka's Islampur Market to sell online ahead of Eid.
A little into the journey, the puller told Rabiul that the bearing of the rickshaw's wheel had just broken. Rabiul got off the rickshaw to help the puller. Suddenly, a man bumped into Rabiul from behind and fell on the ground.
The youth began shouting immediately, saying his phone had been broken in the accident. As a crowd gathered, and Rabiul tried to console the man, the rickshaw-puller quietly slipped away, taking the dresses with him.
Two days later, something similar happened to Sanowar Hossain Sanu. He had just bought 168 panjabis from Greatwall Shopping Complex at Sadarghat in the capital and hoped to make a profit by selling those before Eid.
While he was loading his wares on to his van, a youth bumped into Sanu from the side and repeated the same story of his mobile phone being damaged. During the confusion, the van driver disappeared with all the clothes.
These are just two of many such incidents being reported to police in Old Dhaka.
After the arrest of one on related charges, police now believe there are small groups of petty criminals involved in the crime. The empty streets amid the shutdown have provided them the perfect opportunity.
"Sometimes they pretend to be a rickshaw-puller, van driver or even a potter. Around four to five people work together as a group," Kazi Wazed Ali, officer-in-charge of Sutrapur Police Station, told The Daily Star today.
"One or two members first lock into a scuffle with the victim over a trivial matter, while the others disappear with valuables," he said, adding they recently arrested a member of the gang which had stolen valuables from businessman Sanu in front of Greatwall Shopping mall. The arrestee is now in jail, he said.
Unfortunately, the victims of these two incidents have not recovered their valuables as police are yet to trace those.
Asked, OC Wazed Ali said they had so far learnt that five people were involved in robbing Sanu. "We will take the arrestee into remand after the situation returns to normalcy and then hopefully we can find the valuables and arrest others involved," he added.
Meanwhile, as Sanu's case progresses, Jahid Khan is yet to hear any news of the dresses he lost.
Talking to this correspondent today, he claimed that police had not registered his complaint as "they were busy with other work."
He said he had contacted them numerous times, but was told that the law enforcers were busy and did not have time to investigate the incident now.
Akteruzzaman, sub-inspector of Babubazar police outpost, however, said they were trying their best to trace the criminals, but were yet to find any leads.