Chennai: Hooked to drugs after getting enchanted by an anti-social on Instagram, a young college girl ended up in Puzhal prison being caught in a mobile phone snatching case. Swathi, 20, a first-year viscom student in a Tambaram college, was riding pillion when her 29-year-old 'friend' Raju, a police history-sheeter, snatched the phone from the hand of a woman beautician on Monday. The two were nabbed on Wednesday after extensive search by the police armed with vivid CCTV footage.
"She appears to be from a decent background, with her family in Karur sending her to this Chennai college in the hope she would get educated and land a good job. They did not know she got entangled with this anti-social fellow, falling for him on Instagram without knowing he is out on bail in a bike theft case. Getting addicted to ganja and perhaps other drugs, she might have landed herself in this pit of crime to raise money for the drugs", said a police officer.
He stressed that Swathi's case should be an eye opener not just to the youth straying into unhealthy and criminal ways but also to the families who blindly trust the kids and let them have their way sans any monitoring. Swathi had moved out of her college hostel to live in a girl's hostel at Saidapet to be able to meet Raju at will. Soon she was introduced to his world of drugs and crime. The Monday bike ride to snatch mobile phones was her maiden outing for crime, perhaps desperate for money to buy drugs.
"A bright kid is now forced to spend time in prison, when she should be attending her classes and dream of a great future that would make her family proud", he said, adding that the family has been informed. "They are shocked, shattered. They are on their way here".
According to police, Raju was a seasoned criminal and with Swathi on the pillion, had his first mobile-snatching at the Kathipara flyover in Guindy at about 7.15 pm Monday and struck again in 30 minutes snatching beautician Prasanna Lipsa's phone as she was walking down the GN Chetty Road at Teynampet. Lipsa immediately lodged complaint at the nearby police station.
Police swung into action when the victim narrated that a girl was on the thief's bike pillion, which was shocking. Examining the CCTV footage from the cameras in the place of crime clearly showed the identity of the robber and the girl on the pillion, besides the bike's registration number.
It turned out that Raju had stolen that bike from behind the Phoenix Mall at Velachery earlier in the day.
The CCTV images clearly matched the pictures of Raju that were with the police due to his earlier cases, which made the sleuths' job that much easier in tracking him down. Swathi was picked up later.
The two were produced before a magistrate who remanded them to custody....