A 22-year-old who used to hypnotise railway commuters and then make way with their belongings was arrested from his relative’s house in Ulhasnagar on Saturday.
The accused identified as Satish Salve had been on the run for over nine months, but his luck ran out when he switched on a stolen cellphone, which had been placed under surveillance by the police, to call a relative. The police tracked his call and arrested him.
Amey Dalvi, a college student, had approached the Navghar police in July 2010 after Salve and his friends robbed him of his gold chain and a mobile phone. “The complainant Dalvi told us that Salve along with a friend approached him near the Mulund railway station. They enquired about certain train timings and continued to talk to him. Dalvi does not recall what happened afterwards. A few minutes later when he regained composure, he found his gold chain and cellphone missing. There was no trace of those men who are talking to him before he fell unconscious,” said an officer from Navghar police station.
The police had kept the stolen cellphone belonging to Dalvi under surveillance since July last year. To avoid being caught, Salve refrained from using the phone for nine months. However, the accused recently used the phone to call up a relative, which led the police to track his location and finally his arrest.
The Navghar police suspect that Salve and his accomplice are involved in many such cases of robbery at railway stations. The accused would approach commuters, pretending to be outsiders and then initiate a conversation with them, enquiring about rail routes and train timings, said the officer. “While talking to the victims, they would hypnotise them and then flee with their belongings. We are questioning the accused how they managed to hypnotise victims,” said the officer.
The Navghar police are still looking out for Salve’s accomplice, who is suspected to be holed up outside the city.
“We have registered a case under Sections 420 (cheating) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC against Salve. He
was presented before the local court and has been remanded to police custody till Wednesday,” said S Ghule, senior police inspector of Navghar police station.