Unable to pay off debt, Faridabad man turns thief; arrested
Unable to pay off debts incurred due to huge losses in horse race betting, a 33-year-old man from Haryana’s Faridabad allegedly turned into a thief. He targeted passengers, mostly foreigners, travelling to Chandigarh and Jaipur from Delhi in buses, police said Sunday.
Police said the man, Kamal Kumar Relhan, stole costly digital cameras and laptops and sold them in the grey market with the help of his friend, 27-year-old Deepak Kumar, who has also been arrested. Six stolen digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras worth around ₹4 lakh were seized from their possession.
“One theft case of a DSLR camera registered at Kashmere Gate police station has been solved with their arrest. Rehlan stole the camera from a Chandigarh-bound bus Thursday. It belonged to a Delhi resident who was travelling in the bus,” said Nupur Prasad, DCP (north).
Prasad said Rehlan was previously involved in two similar cases registered in Jaipur and was arrested in March, 2017, by Rajasthan police. Rehlan has disclosed his involvement in many such theft cases and claimed many of his victims were foreigners, the officer said.
“We are questioning Rehlan to identify the owner of the other five cameras. These cameras might belong to foreign tourists who did not report the crime to avoid legal issues,” said an officer privy to the details of the case.
According to the DCP, the Kashmere Gate police station staff were looking for the suspect for almost a month because he was often seen on CCTV camera footages loitering at ISBT Kashmere Gate and his activities appeared suspicious. Police said Rehlan was always seen roaming around the platforms from where people board Volvo buses.
On Thursday, the investigator said, the CCTV camera monitoring staff alerted Kashmere Gate police post in-charge that the suspect boarded a Volvo bus for Chandigarh after identifying and befriending his potential target.
“We alerted the conductor of the bus and asked him to keep an eye on the suspect’s activities. The conductor was also asked not to let the suspect leave in case any passenger complained about theft of his belongings. However, the bus staff took our advice casually and the suspect deboarded the bus in Zirakpur in Punjab after stealing a co-passenger’s bag containing a costly DSLR camera,” said the officer.
Police said Rehlan was caught on Friday when he came looking for another target at the ISBT. His interrogation led to the recovery of six cameras and the arrest of his associate, who helped him in disposing the stolen items.
During the interrogation, DCP Prasad said, Rehlan revealed that he was a habitual gambler and lost around R5 lakh in horse race betting, in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi since 2016.
“Rehlan had taken loans from private financers on high interest rates but was not able to return. As the money lenders were pressuring him for money, he started stealing cameras and laptops and sold them in grey markets to pay the debts,” she added.
Rehlan told police that he got the idea of stealing cameras and laptops of passengers in buses while travelling in a bus in mid-2016.
“A camera bag belonging to a co-passenger was stolen in that bus. Since the passenger refused to file a police complaint citing legal hassles, Rehlan found it a good way to earn quick and easy money,” the officer said.