Pune: Deaf-mute couple turned to theft to live the good life

Convinced it would be hard to find jobs as disabled people, the duo stole cash and mobiles and spent the booty on movies and fine dining

Pune: A deaf and mute couple was arrested on Monday for cheating people and stealing goods worth Rs 1 lakh over a period of three months. The couple targeted shops and homes in Sadashiv Peth, one of Pune’s bustling areas, and stole whatever they could get their hands on. This way, they had stolen 10 mobile phones worth Rs 51,000.

Surbhi Jaywant Vaidya and Swapnil Waman Mehendale in police custody
Surbhi Jaywant Vaidya and Swapnil Waman Mehendale in police custody

Identified as Swapnil Waman Mehendale (33) and Surbhi Jaywant Vaidya (23), the couple mostly spent the booty on movies and restaurants. “They had planned to sell all the cell phones in a day and purchase a good cricket set for Swapnil. They wanted to live a lavish life and being disabled, they believed they would not get a job,” said Sub-Inspector Mahendra Patil of Vishrambaug police station.

While the man is a native of Pune, the girl’s family belongs to Solapur, but had shifted to the city years ago. The girl’s father runs a chain of hotels and Swapnil’s father works as an agent at the Regional Transport Office. The duo was arrested under IPC Sections 380 (theft) and 34 (common intention).

On May 12, a complaint was lodged against them by Rashmi Sunil Hirve (25), who runs a boutique for clothes in Sadashiv Peth.

“They asked me to show some cloth material for their wedding. We showed them many varieties, but they left without buying anything. After an hour, I realised that my cell phone and some cash was missing,” said Hirve.

Cop speak
Hemant Bhat, inspector in-charge of Vishrambaug police station, said, “Around nine cases of theft have been registered against them in a span of three months.”

Sub-Inspector Mahendra Patil of Vishrambaug police station said, “We caught them based on the description given to us. We arrested Swapnil after he won the man of the match award at a local cricket match.”

The duo was produced before the judicial magistrate (First Class) and remanded to judicial custody. They were later granted bail after furnishing security of Rs 15,000 each.

Thief didn’t even spare mom
Surbhi, who is pursuing BCom from a Pune college, did not even spare her mother Geeta. “This is a shock to me. She has stolen my mobile too. I knew about her association with Swapnil, but did not think it will be this bad. She met Swapnil in some typing class in Pune five years back. I wish my daughter could have used her brain for some academic purpose,” she said. She is planning to approach the Human Rights commission to help Surbhi get some relief.

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