Serial laptop thief caught

Girish Shah and his wife received a rude shock on the evening of April 17 when they came back to their parked car after shopping at Dorabjee Mall on Moledina Road and found their laptop and the vehicle keys missing from the four-wheeler. The driver of the car was also not around.

The 45-year-old Shah, who is a consultant with a reputable construction company, did not take long to realise that the driver might have stolen the laptop from the car.

The driver, who had recently begun working for Shah, had given his name as Vinod Narayan Kudale when seeking employment. Shah lodged a complaint with the Pune Cantonment police station. A team led by Police Sub-Inspector B C Gavit swung into action and caught the suspect from Hirve village in Purandar taluka.

Long arm of the law: Akbar Shakih (second from left) in the custody of the police

His true colours
During the course of the investigation, the police came to know that the suspect’s real name was Akbar Masum Shakih, that he was a resident of Purandar taluka in the district, and that he had used the same method to steal laptops from other people as well in the past. The police recovered three laptops from Shakih, including Shah’s Dell laptop.

“The suspect had approached the complainant Shah on April 13 and applied for the post of driver with him. As Shah wanted a driver for his car, he immediately hired him,” Gavit said. “While applying for the post of driver, the suspect posed as one Vinod Kudale.”

The officer said the driver finally got the chance he was waiting for on April 17.

“On April 17, Shah and his wife had gone to Dorabjee for shopping in the evening and after reaching Moledina Road, Shah asked the driver to park the car and also told him to wait till they came back,” Gavit said. “The moment Shah and his wife went inside the mall, the driver took the Dell laptop and the keys and disappeared.”

Wasting no time
Shah said he was puzzled for some time after finding the car locked, but soon he began suspecting the driver and went to the police.

“When we came back, we did not find the driver and the laptop, which was inside the car, was also missing. The car was also locked. I tried to look around for the driver, but he was untraceable. Later I understood that my laptop had been stolen by the driver,” Shah said. “I immediately went to the police station and lodged a complaint against Kudale.”

Gavit said that they received the tip-off that the suspect was in his village.

“A team comprising of Police Constables Nand-kumar Shinde, Neminath Katke, Nilesh Patil and Rahul Gadge reached the village and nabbed him,” Gavit said.

The police said Shakih confessed that before stealing Shah’s laptop he had stolen three laptops from different car owners using the same method.

“He used to approach car owners who were in need of a driver and after working there for a few days, he would steal laptops from the car,” Gavit said. “Every time he used to approach a new car owner, he would give a fake name so that he would not be traced after the theft, but this time he ran out of luck.”

The officer said that Shakih did not have a valid driving licence and used to show a photocopy of a duplicate licence each time he approached somebody for a driver’s job.

Public appeal
Gavit appealed to people who had lost valuables in a similar fashion to contact the Cantonment police station on 020-26333549 so that Shakih’s possible involvement in these cases could be investigated. 

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