After three-year-old Karishma Chavan went missing from Sasoon Dock in Colaba in January this year, the police made a sketch of the alleged accused on the basis of the description given by her grandmother.
Though the sketch - showing the suspect having long hair and beard - failed to yield anything, it gave a harrowing time to all males in the neighbourhood, who resembled him.
After the police went on a spree of rounding up people and questioning them in connection with the incident, several men went to saloons to trim their beards and hair.
Shankar Parab, one of the residents of the Ambedkar Nagar slums in Cuffe Parade, said, "My hair was long, but after the police started rounding us up I was forced by my parents to cut it. I would like to get back my old look soon."
In Nehru Nagar too the police had to resort to making sketches and even roping in postmen to help police investigations.
A crime branch officer, who was part of the Nehru Nagar probe team, said: "We had made a three-dimensional sketch of the accused after the first two incidents. The sketch showed the accused having short hair, big eyes and a beard. To assist probe, we had circulated the sketch among postmen who covered every nook and corner of several slum pockets in Nehru Nagar. They were our eyes as they could easily access places without attracting unwanted attention."
Luck, however, did not favour the Nehru Nagar police as they could crack only one of the three cases. The police arrested Javed Shaikh, 19, after his DNA sample matched with a hair strand found near the body of the third victim, Nusrat Shaikh, 8.
Balasaheb Jagdale, assistant inspector and probe team member of Nehru Nagar police said, "We tried our best to crack the remaining two cases, however, we couldn't. Four months ago, the two cases were transferred to the state CID for further investigation."