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Mumbai woman helps cops nab auto driver who stole her laptop

The Mumbai marketing professional said she read online articles on how to retrieve belongings left behind in autorickshaws

mumbai Updated: Jan 25, 2018 00:03 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
laptop thief,Mumbai crime,Mumbai police
Pallavi R said she was thrilled to get her laptop back.(Praful Gangurde)

Internet listicles, a blurred image of a licence plate and a sketch — this is what marketing professional Pallavi R, 30, used to aid police investigations, identify the man who stole her laptop and get it back, all within a day.

Pallavi said she was travelling from Vikhroli to Malad by auto around 5.30 pm on Friday night when the theft occurred.

“I had put my office laptop and lunch box behind the seat. When we reached Goregaon, I alighted as I had to pick up a parcel. I asked the driver to wait for me and to keep an eye on my bags in the meantime. I picked up the parcel, returned and got into the same auto, which dropped me off at my residence at 6.30pm,” she said.

She realised she had left her Lenovo laptop in the auto the next day. “I went to the nearest police station, where a missing valuable complaint was filed. The police said they would investigate,” she said.

Pallavi said she read online articles on how to retrieve belongings left behind in autorickshaws. “After this, I got in touch with auto unions, who told me they would circulate information about my lost laptop and try to track the driver. They, however, told me this would be difficult as I had not noted down his licence plate number,” she said.

She asked regional transport office (RTO) officials for help and then returned to the Vikhroli stand where she had boarded the auto from.

“I noticed that the area had multiple CCTV cameras and informed the Vikhroli police about this. The officials asked for my details and said they would get in touch, but I insisted on getting the CCTV camera footage and examining it myself,” said Pallavi.She found a blurred image of the auto’s licence plate.

“After trying various combinations of numbers with the last two digits we could see, we identified five potential autos,” she said. She spoke to auto drivers in the area, asking them to help identify their colleague. “After half-an-hour the Vikhroli police called me to the station. A team said they had tracked down the auto driver, called him and said they would file a complaint if he did not return my laptop,” she said.

An officer said they had also prepared a sketch of the driver.

Fifteen minutes later, the auto driver handed over the laptop to the police. “He admitted to hiding the laptop under his seat while Pallavi was retrieving her parcel,” said a police officer.

Sanjay More, senior inspector, Vikhroli police station, said they acted fast to prevent the auto driver from selling the laptop.

“I thought I had lost my laptop and would have to pay my company a Rs45,000 penalty. I was thrilled to get it back,” said Pallavi.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 00:03 IST