A notorious thief, known for stealing cables from mobile phone towers, was nabbed by a group of residents in Semmencherry on Thursday.

S. Bhupathi (22), was caught red-handed by locals on Old Mahabalipuram Road, as he was trying to bundle away a bunch of cables from a private service provider’s mobile phone tower.

According to police, Bhupathi, also known as Madurapandi and Puvalingam, is from Avadikuppam village, Madurai. He came to Chennai in July 2012 to earn a living, and has been here since. He stole cables which contained copper, and then sold them in scrap shops to make money.

Police said that Bhupathi was adept at removing cables without getting electrocuted, as he had worked as a labourer at a mobile tower unit in Madurai some years ago.

As per police estimates, over the course of several months, Bhupathi has stolen cables from at least 21 areas where mobile phone towers are located, including in Thoraipakkam, Karapakkam, Uthandi, Neelankarai, on ECR, OMR, Pallikaranai, Velachery, Adyar and Thiruvanmiyur.

“His targets are mainly mobile towers in isolated locations and those that do not have security guards. He stole mostly in the evenings, when there were fewer people around,” said another police officer.

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