Conman cooks up convincing story to dupe interior decorator

Posing as a prospective client, a conman used a local online business service portal and plenty of chutzpah to dupe an interior decorator, making away with two laptops and mobile phones on Thursday.

The conman, calling himself Ravi Kumar, contacted A. Shahabuddin, owner of V Five Interior Solutions, seeking quotation to do up a commercial building he had supposedly bought.

He got Mr. Shahabuddin’s number by calling Just Dial saying he was looking for an interior designer. From the list he got, he chose Mr. Shahabuddin and asked him to come to a four-storey building in Victoria Layout.

Overwhelmed by the offer, Mr. Shahabuddin and a colleague went to the building to meet Ravi Kumar, who by then had convinced the security guard he was buying the building from the current owner. The impressed guard permitted the trio to inspect the building. As they were about to go up, Ravi Kumar asked the other two to deposit their electronic gadgets with the guard citing security reasons.

Disappearing act

While they were on the second floor, Ravi Kumar excused himself saying he had to make a call and collected the visitors’ bags, which contained two laptops and two expensive mobile phones. He told the security guard he would be back soon.

The fraud came to light when Mr. Shahabuddin and his colleague came down after inspecting the building, only to find Ravi Kumar and their bags missing. They tried to call him but his phone was switched off.

The shocked duo rushed to the Ashoknagar police station to file a complaint. Though the police lent a patient ear, they refused to file the case asking them to first get Ravi Kumar’s photograph.

“When I told them, how could we have taken his photograph and we only have his phone number, the police insisted on a photograph to get the complaint registered,” Mr. Shahabuddin told The Hindu. They reluctantly registered a case when Mr. Shahabuddin contacted a senior police officer for help.

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