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Mumbai Crime: How a sniffer dog 'screwed' burglars' happiness

Police dog Heena smelled a screwdriver left behind by the duo who stole Rs 15 lakh from a Fort office, and ran to Ballard Pier; an informer there revealed that a man, who frequented the place, had stopped visiting suddenly

That a dog is a man’s best friend was proved once again when a police sniffer dog provided a vital breakthrough in a housebreaking case. The case was registered with the MRA Marg police station on July 4 after burglars made away with cash from an office in Fort.

While Shabbir Abbas Sheikh (left, in blue checked shirt) has several housebreaking cases against him, Sharif Aslam Pathan, a serial pickpocket, is also known by the nickname ‘Batua’ (purse)
While Shabbir Abbas Sheikh (left, in blue checked shirt) has several housebreaking cases against him, Sharif Aslam Pathan, a serial pickpocket, is also known by the nickname ‘Batua’ (purse)

According to the police, the incident occurred in the wee hours of July 4 when a duo Shabbir Abbas Sheikh (32) and Sharif Aslam Pathan (30) broke into the premises of a trading company at Fort and made away with Rs 15 lakh in cash.

According to the complainant, all the cash was kept inside a safe and keys to the safe were in one of the drawers. Police Sub-inspector Sharad Dhole of MRA Marg police station said, “The accused had a green screwdriver which they used to break open all drawers. After spending a good 20 minutes, they managed to pry open a drawer which held the keys to the safe.”

Police dog Heena led the cops straight to the place frequented by one of the accused
Police dog Heena led the cops straight to the place frequented by one of the accused

After succeeding in opening the locker, the duo got busy in grabbing the money and simply forgot about their screwdriver, which lay on the floor.

In the morning, when an employee came to work, he found both the doors opened and cash missing from the safe. The police were immediately called, but the failed to find any clue except the lone screwdriver.

When asked if the tool belonged to them, all employees replied in the negative. Sniffer dog Heena was called in to nose around. No sooner had she smelled the screwdriver, than she made a dash outside. Heena led the police to an area in Ballard Pier known to be a joint for drug addicts.

A police informer there told them that a man named Shabbir Sheikh, who frequented the place, hadn’t shown up for a couple of days. He also gave them Sheikh’s address at Lallubhai compound, Mankhurd.

Cops went to his home and took him in for questioning on July 6. At first, Sheikh said nothing, but after further interrogation, he confessed to the crime. He also revealed the whereabouts of his partner Pathan.

The duo was arrested and charged under sections 457 (lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night) and 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc). They will be produced in court today. Police added that both have several cases against them.

Sheikh has had a hand in many burglary cases, while Pathan is a serial pickpocket – his nickname is also ‘Batua’ (purse). Rupees 12.5 lakh of the stolen booty has been recovered, and inquiries about the remaining amount are in progress.

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