Illustration/Ravi Jadhav

This cellphone thief stole mobile phones to fund his drug habit. His luck was finally chased away by a cop and some passers-by on Wednesday.

The accused, identified as Mustafa Khan, who had snatched the phone of a commuter in a BEST bus, was caught by a constable with the help of some people after a dramatic chase in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).

The incident happened on Wednesday in a bus going from Kurla to Bandra. When it reached BKC, Khan stood near the victim's seat, keeping an eye on the man's mobile phone kept in his shirt pocket. When the bus slowed near the income tax office, Khan snatched the phone and jumped out. The victim and fellow commuters raised an alarm; the victim, too, got off and started to chase Khan.

On seeing the two men running, traffic constable Vijay Bhangale, posted at the income tax junction, got suspicious, and when Khan neared him, Bhangale tried to stop him. Khan, however, pushed him and kept on running, hopping onto the divider. But Bhangale continued giving him chase, and after a few metres, with the help of passers-by, managed to nab him. He was handed over to the BKC police.

An officer said, "The accused has been booked under sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 379 (theft), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 511 (attempt to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code; he was produced in the Bandra court and sent to police custody till Saturday."