Army veteran turns Sherlock to catch Nepalese who burgled his flat

A 42-year-old war veteran turned into a detective to chase down burglars, who broke into his flat and made away with Rs 50 lakh worth of valuables.

Shravan (name changed on request) spent Rs 1.5 lakh on airfare to visit Bhuj, Pune, Mumbai, Avadi and Gunjur with the city police in the space of eight months and helped them collar the burglars - Kishan (25), Birender (24) and Milan Kumar Bohra (20).

While the three were arrested in September, the police suspect that the fourth man, Arjun Thappa (20), who they are unable to trace, could have fled to Nepal.

In January 2017, Shravan went with his family to Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu to perform the final rites of his sister and brother-in-law. Thappa, a security guard at Pavithra Paradise in Kaggadasapura, where Shravan had his flat, teamed with three others working as security men at different buildings to break into his flat.

The burglars fled with Rs 10 lakh in jewels, Rs 50,000 in cash and four antique cameras. Despite confirmation of the men's identity using CCTV footage, the police said they could have fled to Nepal.

Not wanting to let them off so easy, Shravan began his own investigations. He discussed his plans with the Baiyappanahalli police, who deputed two crime staff to assist him.

Does own research

He researched about Nepali men coming to work in Indian metros and contacted the military intelligence in Bhuj to collect more details on Nepali gangs. Shravan learnt that about 300 to 400 Nepali men in the city who knew each other are potential criminals.

"Most of them were displaced after the earthquake in Nepal," he said. "They are not gurkhas as local residents believe."

"Since they are from Nepal, residents think they are gurkhas and hand them things like their house keys. No one, including the apartment associations, actually check their background or seek police verification. These men end up as security guards," he added.

Based on Bhuj military intelligence, Shravan and the policemen arrested Bohra from Gujarat, Kishan from Avadi in Chennai and Birender from Gunjur near Whitefield.

The police could only recover Rs 3 lakh from them as they spent nearly all of the money they made from the burglary.

The men revealed to their interrogators that the actual target was the flat of a single woman at Pavithra Paradise Apartments. They were even prepared to harm her in their burglary attempt, but their plans changed when Shravan left with his family.

Shravan urged flat owners to do a background check or police verification - for a nominal fee - to ensure that the security guards they employ are trustworthy.

"The summer vacation is on and families travel out of the state, leaving their houses and flats at the mercy of security guards. It is important that they do background checks," he said.

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