Three sentences in a juvenile correction home was not enough to deter this 19-year-old from stealing.
Stealing car batteries was Amrit Singh’s first step into crime. At 12, he started pulling out batteries from cars. It became his passion. A few years later, he started stealing cars. “He said he felt satisfied after stealing a car, getting on the steering and taking it around the city as if it was his. He said that he loved to play music inside, with air conditioner at its maximum power directed at his face. He did not steal for money, just for thrill,” an investigator said.He then went on to steal car accessories and petrol. Till 18, Amrit Singh was caught thrice and served around one-and-a- half years in a correction home. But each time he stepped out, Singh got bolder.
Singh’s mother Harjinder Kaur told HT that her son’s fascination for car accessories, engines and motors developed as he accompanied his elder brother to a garage, where he worked as a mechanic. He would watch people drive in their sedans, wondering how it would feel to be on the steering.
Kaur, who works as a tailor, said she had often heard locals say Singh was seen driving luxury sedans but she never believed them.
“ He asked money for even small things such as washing powder and toothpaste. He would come home and stand before me showing his empty pockets. If he was stealing all these cars, why did he not sell them for money? It is still hard to believe.”
Kaur said that a police team came to the house to search for keys of the stolen cars but they returned empty.
The woman said that Singh would go missing from home every night but returning every afternoon. “He used to come home at 2 pm, change his clothes, have food and sleep. He left home at 7pm. I kept asking where he was going, but he never told me anything,” she said.
According to the woman, her son was a good student but quit school when he fell into bad company.
“ After quitting school, all he did was to sit on the road . He then started accompanying his brother to the garage. I could never understand him. His friends are to be blamed.”