Employing a trick from the conmen's book, the police engaged a mobile shop employee suspected of decamping with Rs 2.6 lakh in what he thought was some harmless Facebook flirting, and arrested him after luring him into a meeting.
According to the VP Road police, Nagpur's Vijay Chaudhari (23), who resides at Prakash Compound Mill, Lower Parel, was an employee of the Connection and More shop in Charni Road. On December 17, the shop's manager gave him Rs 2, 60,000 to deposit in a bank at its Opera House branch. But the deposit was never made, nor did Chaudhari return to work. The store manager tried contacting him but he had switched his phone off. The shop owner, Tejas Sauda, also attempted to get in touch with Chaudhari but he seemed to have vanished.
"After failing to track Chaudhari, the owner registered an FIR against him for criminal breach of trust (IPC sec 408). The CCTV footage of the bank branch revealed that Chaudhari did go there but was not seen depositing the cash, which means he changed his mind at the bank, and then called the owner saying that he was robbed of the cash," said an officer from VP Road police station.
He added, "By the time we heard of Chaudhari's involvement in the theft, he had already fled to Nagpur. His phone was switched off and we did not have his address," said the police officer. Upon investigating, cops learnt that Chaudhari spent most of his salary on gadgets and girlfriends. They then devised the ruse to ensnare him. "We opened a Facebook account in the name of a woman and contacted the accused with a friend request," said Milind Kate, police sub-inspector of VP Road police station.
Chaudhari accepted the request and started chatting with whom he thought was a playful woman. Under their female Facebook identity, cops asked Chaudhari to show up at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal (CST) for a rendezvous. He fell for the ruse. "When Chaudhari arrived at CST station, we arrested him. We managed to recover Rs 20,000 from him. He had spent the remaining amount, mostly on dating girls and taking them out to restaurants and on outings," the officer concluded.