Women boarding autorickshaws alone after dusk, especially if they have to go to isolated places, should preferably capture the registration number of the autorickshaw on their mobile phone, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) P. Viswa Prasad.

There could be other men posing as passengers. There was every chance of they being hand-in-glove with the driver, out to commit a crime.

This was what happened to A. Jayapradha (45), headmistress of ZP High School at Revidi Venkatapuram village of Padmanabham mandal, on October 23.

The five accused were arrested by the Bheemunipatnam police and presented before the media on Friday.

Ms. Jayapradha had to attend a wedding at Cheepurapalle in Vizianagaram district on October 23. After school at around 5.30 p.m., she beckoned an autorickshaw at Maharajupeta junction. Apart from the driver, there were four other men in it. She thought they were passengers. At Rellipeta, the driver took a left turn and Ms. Jayaprada suspected there was something wrong and tried to raise an alarm.

One of her ‘co-passengers’ took out a knife, another gagged her mouth, and two others snatched her gold ‘pusthula thadu’ (black bead chain), weighing 8 tolas, gold ‘mangalasutram’, and a leather handbag containing her cellphone, SBI ATM card, PAN card, voter ID card, and some coins.

Mr. Viswa Prasad said the accused tied the victim to a pole before fleeing.

The victim managed to free herself and reached home late in the night with great difficulty. Ms. Jayapradha could not recall the vehicle number or give any other clue except that one of the accused had ‘Mongoloid features’.

Bheemunipatnam Inspector S. Lakshmana Murthy and his team under the supervision of Additional DCP (Crime) S. Varada Raju and Assistant Commissioner of Police (Madhurawada) K. Ranga Raju got cracking on the only clue provided by the victim and began checking for those with Mongoloid features and finally arrested the accused.

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