Dressed as a beggar, Usha Patil stole from houses and escaped speedily with the help of her accomplice; the duo amassed enough to buy a flat and a car

Appearances can be deceptive. This proverb turned out to be true in the case of Usha Shankar Patil, a 45-year-old leprosy patient who was nabbed by the Bandra police yesterday for having conducted a multiple number of thefts. Patil would allegedly rob people under the guise of a deformed beggar with the help of her husband-cum-accomplice Akbar Maste.

Dressing down: The woman would enter buildings and chawls wearing
rags to avoid arousing suspicion, and sneak into residences to grab
valuables and run. Illustration/ Jishu Dev Malakar

Cops were shocked to discover that the couple had amassed enough wealth through their exploits, to own a car and a flat in Wadala.

Modus operandi
According to Nandkumar Gaikwad, PI of Bandra police station, Patil would first recce the area that she chose to conduct a theft in. After selecting a particular building or a chawl, she would sneak into the building unnoticed, and enter apartments, the doors to which had been kept ajar.

"The woman would then pick up any electronic gadget she could lay her hands on, and slip away before her presence was detected. After exiting the building or the chawl, she would signal Akbar, who would be stationed at a distance in their car, ready to pick her up," said Gaikwad.

"Being a leper, Usha would wear rags, which would allow her to avoid arousing suspicion as she entered the building or chawl."

The Bandra police have launched a manhunt for Akbar. The duo is responsible for over 12 such cases of theft in Bandra.