KOCHI: It wasn’t a murder or a major heist. Yet, it was a complex case that involved brain racking, and a meticulous track-and-trace probe one usually sees in whodunits. Last month, a hungover man approached the Central police station in Kochi with a complaint that someone ‘might’ have stolen his gold chain, ring, wallet and mobile phone as he had dozed off on a pavement after downing a few drinks.
The complainant had been in the city to attend a school reunion bash at a hotel near MG Road. He headed home quite late into the night. As he felt tipsy, he sat on a pavement and dozed off. It was his younger brother who noticed him sleeping on the pavement while scanning the city for his sibling.
On being woken up, the complainant realised that his belongings were missing. “Though it was a petty crime, the task was challenging. It wasn’t that easy, “ says Station House Officer S Vijayashankar. “The complainant wasn’t even sure whether he was robbed or not! He wondered if he had lost the valuables or misplaced them under the influence of alcohol.”
Vijayashankar, however, was certain that it was a case of robbery. “There was a mark of his gold ring on his finger, indicating that it was tight. There was no possibility of it accidentally falling off,” he recalls. His team soon started analysing CCTV visuals, from over a dozen spots in the city, and data from a few mobile tower locations to zero in on the accused.
“We had to look into voluminous data to track the accused. When we checked the CCTV visuals, we found quite a number of people checking on the complainant while he was asleep. But, in one visual, we saw two men leaning too close to the complainant. We enhanced the visuals of those persons and tracked their movement by checking the visuals from other CCTV units on the stretch,” explains Vijayashankar.
“Once we created a chart on their route in the city, we tracked the details of mobile numbers which were active at a particular point of time under specified mobile towers along the route. After filtering the numbers from the list, we finally zeroed in on the suspects, who hailed from Mulavukad island. The ornaments, which they had pledged, were recovered, and the accused were remanded in judicial custody.”