An alleged serial cellphone thief was arrested by the police after he stole a mobile while waiting for his court hearing and slipped away. Police said the accused, Faisal Iqbal Shaikh, a suspect in several cases of cellphone theft, was waiting for his case to be heard at the Thane sessions court in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday when he approached court stenographer Nandini Purarkar, 44.
Shaikh repeatedly asked her how long it would take before his case came up for hearing, but Purarkar told him to wait for his turn, police said. Shaikh spotted Purarkar's cellphone in a corner and, making sure no one was watching, allegedly pocketed the phone and slipped away. When Shaikh's case finally came up for hearing, he was nowhere to be found.
Purarkar only realised that her cellphone was missing during the lunch break. She tried dialling the number but found it switched off. Purarkar immediately approached the Thane Nagar police and told them her suspicions about Shaikh. Officers summoned Shaikh's lawyer and instructed him to call Shaikh, who answered the phone. Shaikh told his lawyer he was going home and would meet him in court at the next hearing.
The police turned up at Shaikh's home in Mumbra and questioned his father, who told them that Shaikh visits Mumbra railway station every evening to sell stolen phones. The police caught Shaikh after laying a trap for him at the railway station and recovered two cellphones from him, including the one belonging to the stenographer.
Senior Inspector Mandar Dharmadhikari from Thane Nagar Police Station said: "The accused has been arrested. We recovered two mobile phones from him."