CHENNAI:A 49-year-old man, who went on a jolly ride after stealing a bus parked by the roadside — and even took in passengers in the southern suburbs of the city — was finally caught around 80 km away after the panicked driver of the missing vehicle alerted police.
The driver, who went to sleep after leaving the bus near his home, informed Kelambakkam police, who in turn alerted the night patrol teams across Old Mahabalipuram Road, GST Road and arterial roads in the city, before the missing bus was finally traced near Melmaruvathur, early morning Tuesday.
The dramatic incidents unfolded around Monday midnight when S Dilli, the actual driver of the bus, received a call from a friend, who spotted the bus moving via Maraimalai Nagar. Dilli panicked, and came out of his house in Kelambakkam to realise that the bus was indeed missing from where he had parked it.
The vehicle belonged to a Tambaram-based transport company, contracted to ferry employees of an IT company in Kelambakkam.
Dilli alerted the Kelambakkam police that the bus was missing and his friend noticed it moving near Maraimalai Nagar. Soon, all the night patrol teams along the stretch were alerted to lookout for the bus. “Finally, it was traced near Melmaruvathur around 4 am. There were some passengers inside the bus. The man who was driving the vehicle pretended that he was actual driver of the bus,” said a police source. On receiving the information, a sub inspector from Kelambakkam rushed to the spot and brought back the bus. The person who took out the bus was identified as M Ramesh (49). “He had also collected money from the passengers as fare to drop them at various spots. It is unclear if he intended to steal the bus or just make a quick money by plying passengers like this,” said a police officer. However, the police said Dilli preferred not to lodge a complaint against Ramesh as they were known to each other. “He finally claimed that Ramesh took out the bus for a water wash and lost his way. So we did not file any case,” said a police inspector.