The accused was working as an instructor in a private college

A 51-year-old man who has the habit of lifting any valuables when unnoticed by the public fell trap to the police at last. Three laptops, a cheque book, one pen drive and gold jewellery were all recovered from the accused here on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, Inspector General and Commissioner of Police P. Kannappan said that the accused, a mechanical engineer, was working as an instructor in a private college at Kilakarai in Ramanathapuram district till recently. As he was removed from service for his alleged offences, he indulged in crimes in public places.

The modus operandi was simple that the accused, for instance, would enter a doctor's clinic under the guise of a patient. When unnoticed, he would steal anything in the vicinity, from a mobile phone to laptop kept by visitors. Similarly, as he was good at repairing air-conditioners, he visited many dwellings and commercial establishments, where too he walked away with gadgets that were lying nearby. He was working in a popular air-conditioning company in Chennai for over 10 years.

Based on the confession, the police realised that the accused, Murugesan alias Venkatraman, son of Vairavan, of Jinnah Compound at Anbu Nagar at Kilakarai, had reached here and boarded a bus from Railway Junction to the Maatuthavani bus stand. As the bus approached the district court stop, he felt a bit uneasy and he had alighted. After inquiring with passersby, he landed in a clinic near the K.K. Nagar arch. As there was no body in the waiting hall, the accused, lifted a bag kept there and walked away unnoticed.

When he reached the Periyar bus stand, he found a laptop and some other medical records. After a thorough search, when he found a business card in it bearing a Bangalore address, he booked it through a courier agency in the nearby area after retaining a cheque book with him. As the address was not correct, the consignment was sent back to the courier company here. Since the whereabouts of the consignor were unknown, the courier company kept the packet in its custody.

Meanwhile, since the bearer of the cheque book had signed on a couple of cheque leaves, the accused used it to purchase gold jewellery in Kilakarai. He had also issued it to purchase a few other items. When the bank transaction reflected the location, the police rushed to Ramanathapuram district and inquiries with the jeweller revealed the identity of Murugesan through the CCTV. From here, the special team was on the lookout for the suspect and discreet probe facilitated them in trapping the accused near Maatuthavani bus stand here. The Commissioner of Police lauded the special team led by DCP (crime) C. Rajendran, ACP Muthusamy, Inspector P. Murugadasson, SI of Police R. Gunasekaran and others for swiftly tracking the accused.

Mr. Kannappan in an appeal wanted the public to be more cautious with their belongings, especially in places where strangers visited under the guise of a patient or a customer wanting to buy goods and committed crimes. He also recommended installation of CCTVs which would help in crime detection and also discourage the offenders. The accused was produced before a court.