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Mumbai Crime: Fleeing thief travelled on same local the whole day

The 22-year-old accused, who had been arrested for stealing jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh, escaped from police custody after the cops told him he would be paraded handcuffed in his locality in Malad

So terrified was this young thief of being shamed in front of his family that he managed to escape from a police lock-up, and spent a whole day travelling on the same local train, to avoid being caught again.

Hemant Desai
Hemant Desai

His luck ran out on Thursday, when Unit IX of the Crime Branch arrested the 22-year-old man from Bandra railway station. The accused, who is a resident of Malad, was arrested by the Ratnagiri police last week after he stole jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh from his relative’s house, and sold it to a jeweller in Nallasopara.

According to the Crime Branch officers, the accused, identified as Hemant Desai, fled from the police lock-up at Nallasopara, where he had been brought to help the police recover the stolen ornaments.

The Nallasopara police had told Desai that he would be made to roam in his locality in Malad with handcuffs on, causing him to hatch a desperate and successful escape plan.

The officers revealed that Desai, whose father is a BMC employee, was staying in Mumbai five months ago, when he was caught robbing a motorcycle from his neighbourhood. Desai was then sent to Ratnagiri, his native place, to stay with his relatives.

The officers added that on July 3, Desai’s father received a call from his brother in Ratnagiri, saying that Desai had robbed ornaments from the house, kept for his daughter’s wedding. After registering a complaint, the police officers tracked his phone and arrested him.

After being arrested, Desai revealed to the police that he had sold the booty to two jewellers in Nallasopara and Mira Road. On Wednesday, the Ratnagiri police brought Desai to Mumbai, so he could help them recover the stolen jewellery. The officers lodged Desai in the Nallasopara lock-up. While being taken to the jeweller’s shop, however, Desai managed to flee.

With just Rs 2 in his pocket, Desai boarded a train from Nallasopara station. For a whole day, he travelled in the same local trains as it made its way to and from Virar and Churchgate. On one of these journeys, Desai borrowed a passenger’s phone to make a phone call home. “We traced the number from where Desai’s father had received a call.

From the owner of the phone, we found out that he had lent it to a man who wanted to make a call in the train. We knew that Desai would be somewhere along the Western line railway stations,” said an officer from Unit IX of the Crime Branch.

The police kept a watch on the railway stations and sure enough, found Desai staggering out of Bandra railway station the next morning he had fallen asleep inside a train that had stopped at Bandra Terminus. The police then handed him over to Ratnagiri police.

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