Mumbai cops nab thief who 'helped' people outside theatres, robbed them

The 26-year-old would target performance venues and help Marathi artistes carry their luggage to the changing room; once the performers went on stage, he would flee with their belongings

A theif who primarily targeted theatres and performance venues, from where he stole valuables belonging to artistes, has been nabbed. The Dadar police arrested the 26-year-old from Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, after an artiste had lodged a complaint about his missing laptop and the man was found loitering suspiciously near the changing room.

Hivale would stand outside the entrance of the venues and when any artiste showed up for a performance, he would offer to help carry his/her luggage to the changing room. The artiste, thinking Hivale was an employee of the theater, would readily give him the belongings. On the other hand, the hall authorities would let him enter the green room thinking he was part of the artiste’s entourage
Hivale would stand outside the entrance of the venues and when any artiste showed up for a performance, he would offer to help carry his/her luggage to the changing room. The artiste, thinking Hivale was an employee of the theater, would readily give him the belongings. On the other hand, the hall authorities would let him enter the green room thinking he was part of the artiste’s entourage

The complaint had been lodged by noted Marathi vocalist Sanjeev Chimmalgi on September 16, who reported that his laptop worth Rs 30,000 had gone missing from the changing room at Ravindra Natya Mandir. Another dancer, Ashish Kamte, had lost his cellphone in April.

As soon as the artiste went up on stage, Hivale would scamper away with his belongings. Illustration/Amit Bandre
As soon as the artiste went up on stage, Hivale would scamper away with his belongings. Illustration/Amit Bandre

Acting on a tip-off, the Dadar police went to the venue on September 18 to investigate and found the accused, Suresh Devidas Hivale (26), loitering suspiciously around the changing rooms. A team comprising Sub-inspector Deepali Kulkarni, Assistant Sub-inspector Jagtap and constables Khan, Sawant and Phapale were sent to the spot.

Vocalist Sanjeev Chimmalgi had lost his laptop worth Rs 30,000 from the changing room at Ravindra Natya Mandir Three cases of stealing valuables have been registered against Suresh Hivale in Dadar and Sion police stations
Vocalist Sanjeev Chimmalgi had lost his laptop worth Rs 30,000 from the changing room at Ravindra Natya Mandir and Three cases of stealing valuables have been registered against Suresh Hivale in Dadar and Sion police stations

Kulkarni told mid-day, “After we reached the spot, we noticed the accused roaming around near the changing room of the artistes. We brought him in for questioning and he confessed to having stolen valuables not only from the Natya Mandir but also from Sion’s Shanmukhananda Hall.”

Police said the thief fooled the artistes into thinking he was trying to help them carry their belongings and would later escape with the valuables. Kulkarni said the cops have registered three cases against him in Dadar and Sion police stations.

Dadar police have successfully recovered Chimmalgi’s laptop and the dancer’s mobile phone. “Hivale claimed he has a problem in his eye due to which he is not able to see properly, and says he stole to fund his medical treatment,” Kulkarni added.

The accused has been booked under Section 379 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code. He was produced in court on Monday and remanded in police custody.

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