An unemployed computer professional allegedly took to stealing computers from Internet cafes in the city, but some seven months later his luck ran out after police nabbed him. Interrogators could recover 44 of the 70 computers he stole.

Police said the arrested man Prashanth Kumar, who obtained a Master's degree in computers from a University in United Kingdom, adopted a novel modus operandi for his escapades. He would enter an Internet café as a customer, steal keys when staff is busy, get duplicates made and replace the original keys, Jubilee Hills Inspector K. Narsinga Rao, said.

The replacement of keys after duplicates were made was to ensure that the owners do not change the locks. And after the theft, suspicions would centre around those who have access to keys. Prashanth, police claimed, would drive to the Internet café in a car, collect monitors, CPUs and printers till the vehicle is filled and return home. He would sell them later.

On one occasion, watchman of an Internet centre building tried to stop him as he was shifting the computers at midnight. Kumar convinced him that he owned the shop and had to urgently vacate the premises.

He was son of a retired bank manager residing in Erramanzil colony. He completed graduation in computers from Nizam college and had joined a two-year master's programme in computers in Virginia University of London a year later. He lived in UK for a year on work permit after completing the course and returned home in 2006 but could not find a job.

He got married two years ago and started committing thefts driven by pecuniary problems. On a tip-off, the Sub-Inspector, K. Nageswara Rao, caught him and recovered the stolen property.

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