Optician with eye for housebreaking nabbed in Kandivli

Mumbai: The city crime branch's Unit 11 arrested an optician in Kandivli on Wednesday for stealing from the house of a woman whom she had befriended at their housing society gym, and a jeweller, Dipak Sarkariya, 43, for buying stolen property. The woman has been identified as Ruchita Tanna, 38. On June 23, a theft had occurred at the home of a senior citizen couple at Rock Enclave, Hindustan Naka, Kandivli. There was no one at home that afternoon and thieves allegedly entered using duplicate keys and stole gold jewellery worth Rs 7.5 lakh. As the couple lives alone, they were afraid to file a case but when the crime branch's Unit 11 learnt of the incident, they assured the couple of their safety and persuaded them to register a case at Charkop Police station. After which a case was registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of theft in house (380) and trespassing (454 & 457).

On the day of the incident, the woman had gone to the gym while her husband was away on consultancy work. When crime branch officials checked CCTV footage of the building, the woman's companion Tanna was spotted suspiciously lingering near the woman's purse while the latter was exercising. Tanna was also seen leaving the gym and then rushing back. "Tanna, who also lives in the same building, usually went to the gym, where she had struck up a friendship with the 71-year-old woman. We took Tanna into custody and during interrogation she confessed to the crime, after which she was arrested. Tanna had sold all the property to a jeweller, Sarkariya, who was arrested under IPC sections of dishonestly receiving stolen property (411) and destruction of evidence (201)," said an officer.

"By the time we arrested Sarkariya, he had already melted the jewellery but we have recovered gold worth Rs 5.5 lakh so far," added the officer. According to police, Tanna had been renting a flat in Rock Enclave for the past three years. She had loan instalments and credit card bills due, which caused her to commit the theft. Tanna knew that the son and daughter of the couple lived abroad and every afternoon, the woman visited the gym while her husband went out from 1 to 5 pm for his consultancy work. This is not Tanna's first brush with the law. She had been booked in 2010 by Andheri Police for committing a theft after administering a sedative to her victim. On Wednesday, Tanna was produced in court which remanded her in police custody for three days.

- SACHIN GAAD

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