Shankar Kerekar (below), who was caught red-handed while stealing the water meters.
It takes courage to hold one's ground when unarmed, and facing a person with a weapon. But Vernisha Rodriguez Dias seems to have a whole lot of it. The 40-year-old housewife from Vasai recently caught a thief red-handed, and unfazed, managed to push him and run for help when he tried to attack her with a chopper.
Dias stays with her husband, daughter, and brother at Pereira Nagar's Tiara Co-operative Housing Society at Vasai. She had returned from the market around 5 pm on Friday, and saw water flowing from the terrace of her building.
She said, "I went to the terrace and saw a stranger removing the water meter from the pipeline. When I called out to him, he ran towards me with a chopper in his hand. When he came close, I pushed him back with all my might, and ran out of the terrace. I locked the door from outside and ran downstairs shouting, "Chor, chor!"
Her neighbours rushed to help, but by the time they reached the terrace, the thief descended from behind the building. He could not escape as some other people caught him, said Dias.
At least eight water meters were removed from the pipeline. The water meters are made of brass and copper, and sold at Rs 1,500 each in the black market. Society secretary Rosario Rodericks has lodged a complaint at the Manikpur police station.
Vernisha Rodriguez Dias who caught the thief.
Police said the accused has a previous record of theft. "The accused is Shankar Kerekar (38) who stays in Naigaon. He is also a real estate broker. We have booked him in two cases under section 379 of IPC, probably some more cases could be registered against him in future. Several complaints of water meters being stolen have been received from various societies in the area," said a police official from Manikpur police station.
Tiara Co-operative Housing Society where the drama occurred. Pics/Hanif Patel
"If possible, we will felicitate Dias and also put forward her name for a bravery ward," he added.
"The accused has been remanded in police custody and further investigation is on," said Senior Police Inspector Anil Patil from Manikpur Police station.