After dropping off the last passenger every night, Rajkumar and Rajesh would drive around looking for locked and unoccupied houses

He was a call-taxi driver by day and a burglar by night. But on Saturday, 24-year old Rajkumar’s luck ran out.

Posing as customers, policemen made a booking for Rajkumar’s cab and nabbed him when he went to pick them up. His cousin and aide Rajesh (23) was arrested earlier. The duo was remanded and over 75 sovereigns of gold jewellery recovered from them.

During interrogation, the men revealed they targeted locked houses in the city after Rajkumar completed his trips for the day.

Nothing seemed to stop them until April when the two ransacked a house on Rajaji Street in Venkateswarar Nagar, Kolathur. The owner, Murugesan, and his family were away in Tirupati at the time.

A relative of Murugesan’s complained to the Rajamangalam police when he found the locked house had been broken into and valuables stolen.

“We began investigating but there was no breakthrough in the case for a long time. Then a few days ago, we learnt from an informer that Rajesh of Villivakkam was behind the burglary,” said inspector P. Ashokan.

Rajesh was picked up from his house in Villivakkam and interrogated. “He confessed to burgling houses with his cousin Rajkumar, a call-taxi driver,” the policeman said.

But the cops were unable to nab Rajkumar. That’s when they decided to lay a trap for him. On Saturday, the policemen, posing as call-taxi customers, contacted Rajkumar and asked him to come to Padi flyover. They revealed their identities to him after getting into his cab. Rajkumar was nabbed and taken into custody.

During interrogation, Rajkumar told the police he operated his own call-taxi service. “He ferried IT company employees to their homes in Kolathur, Anna Nagar, Tirumangalam and surrounding areas. Rajesh usually accompanied him on such trips,” said Mr. Ashokan.

After dropping off the last passenger, Rajkumar and Rajesh would drive around localities on the western fringes — especially Kolathur, Anna Nagar and Tirumangalam — looking for locked and unoccupied houses. After zeroing in on a target, Rajesh would proceed to burgle the house while Rajkumar stayed in the car and kept watch. After looting the house, they escaped in the car.

The case brings into focus the importance of police verification while engaging call-taxi services, the police said.

“Only finance companies opt for police verification of drivers and call-taxi operators. It may not be mandatory but if everybody followed their example, greater safety of passengers could be ensured,” said Mr. Ashokan.

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