KOCHI: Ernakulam rural police on Monday arrested a Mumbai resident, who used to fly from city to city to loot high profile guests staying in star hotels, from his flat in Mumbai.
The accused, Kamarudheen Sheikh (47) of Jogeswary West, Andheri, Mumbai, who committed thefts in three hotels at Nedumbassery and Elamakkara in January, May and April, was arrested after his face got captured in a CCTV camera at a hotel in Vapalassery. The accused had fled with valuables worth Rs 3.5 lakh belonging to a Thodupuzha native who was staying at the hotel, on January 14.
According to Nedumbassery circle inspector Baiju P M, the accused had travelled to cities in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to commit similar crimes. The travel documents suggest that Sheikh used to travel from Mumbai to various cities. We are expecting more cases to come up from other states soon,” said Baiju.
The accused who arrived at Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) had booked the return ticket within less than an hour of his arrival in all his thefts. “He had hired cabs online to reach hotels in executive clothing. After walking in and randomly opening doors, he looted the first room which lacked occupant. Soon after the theft, he hired another cab to reach CIAL and catch his return flight,” said police.
Sheikh was hard to trace as he comes and leaves with in a short span of time.
After he was caught in a CCTV image at the hotel in Vapalassery, police found that he hired a cab to CIAL. A team of rural police later on traced his mobile number found from his travel records to pin-point his location before seeking assistance from Mumbai police.
The accused was arrested from his flat near Andheri and was arrested after interrogating him at Mumbai.
The man had business operations like car accessory sales and textile businesses as a cover up for his crimes. Sheikh, police said, used to make the travels during holidays. Police said that he used the stolen money for foreign trips and other luxuries.
Senior officers said that the accused used to get away with the crimes as he targets star hotels and they mostly compensate their customers for the loss, fearing damage to reputation. The accused used to be so quick and efficient that police suspect many victims might have realized the theft only very late. Police are waiting for more complaints to emerge.
The accused has been booked under sections 380 (theft in dwelling house) and 454 (house breaking) of the IPC. He will be presented before a magistrate in Ernakulam.