Answering a phone he had just stolen proved to be an unwise move for Altaf Qureshi, who was arrested by the police within 24 hours of stealing a woman’s purse.
Reena Jain, a homemaker from Kalachowkie, had dozed off while in the queue of the Tatkal ticket counter at Byculla railway station, when Qureshi stole her handbag. The bag contained a gold necklace, a mobile phone and some cash.
Before Jain reported the matter to the Government Railway Police (GRP), decided to try her luck and made a call on her own cell number from the phone of a person standing next to her in the queue. To her surprise, Qureshi, at the other end, answered it. Jain told the thief that she would give him some money if he returned the necklace, but did not mention that it was actually fake. To her surprise, the thief agreed and told her that he would return the purse the next day at a designated spot near the Byculla railway station.
Jain then narrated the incident to the GRP at Byculla railway station. The police then spread a dragnet near the spot at which the thief was supposed to return the purse.
True to his word, Qureshi turned up the next evening, expecting to be paid in return for the necklace.
Instead, he met a waiting police party who quickly arrested him.
Surendra Deshmukh, senior inspector at the CST GRP, under which the Byculla railway station falls, said, “We found that he was a local vagabond. He had lifted Jain’s purse in desperation. She outsmarted him and made our job easy.” Deshmukh added that all the stolen articles were found intact.
The police have registered a case under Section 379 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code against Qureshi and they are questioning him to ascertain if he is involved in other cases.