A 45-year-old petty thief, who was handcuffed and detained at the Washermenpet police station, escaped when the station house officer was engrossed work, here on Thursday night.
Police said Venkateswaran (45), a conman and drug addict, on Wednesday, approached relatives of patients, who had lined up at the CT scan centre at the Government Stanley Hospital, and offering to get them ahead in the queue. Believing him, a woman gave him `1,000 so that her husband with heart ailment can be scanned without a long wait.
Besides, he told her that he would find a job for her son at a textile shop so that her husband need not continue working.
He told her that he would go out and tell his contact at the hospital and that he would give her the registration number and she will be called irrespective of her position in the queue.
The woman waited for four hours and her turn for the scan came up. A little later she found him lying on the pavement of the hospital and alerted the police.
Washermenpet police turned up at the spot and found that Venkateswaran had taken ganja and a packet of the narcotic was found near him.
Since the accused was drowsy, he could not be interrogated. He was arrested and taken to the Washermenpet police station.
He was handcuffed on one hand and locked to a chair in the police station. It was decided to leave him that way until he became sober.
The accused later complained that he needed to relieve himself and was allowed to do so, with the accompaniment of a constable. When he returned, a woman sub-inspector was the only one at the station. He managed to pick the lock of the handcuff and fled from the station.
A senior police official said the woman SI found the accused missing only after she finished some paper work that she was engrossed in. She immediately alerted her superiors and other police stations.
The description of the accused was relayed and a hunt was on to catch him. Search parties were also sent to his residence and other places where he used to frequent.