BENGALURU: Two teenage boys, who had aspired to become national level cricketers and took to chain snatching to get enough money to realise their dream, have ended up behind bars. The duo, Naveen Shetty (19) and Balkumar (19), were so drawn to snatching chains after their first few successful attempts that they had gathered booty worth around Rs 30 lakh. Of which, the police have recovered Rs 27 lakh worth of gold ornaments. The Jayanagar police, who arrested the accused, claimed to have solved 22 cases of chain snatching registered in different police stations in the city.
The accused, to get enough money for cricket training and cricket kit, took to chain snatching on a bike which they had stolen eight months ago. Naveen and Balkumar, who were friends since their school days in Tumakuru, had dropped out of school, the police said. Balkumar worked at a television shop and was a part-time cook at a hotel, while Naveen drove an autorickshaw. Though they were pursuing different jobs, they shared the dream of playing cricket for India.
The duo, who wanted to join the Indian cricket team as openers, approached the Karnataka Institute of Cricket and inquired about the fees. The accused were told that they need to deposit Rs 30,000 every year besides paying for cricket kit. Let down by the hefty fees, the duo started watching others play on the ground for days when they shared their desire with one of their friends who advised them to take a shortcut to earn money. He told them to take up chain snatching as it was easier than other crimes. Once started, the duo never stopped, the police said.
Once they got involved in chain-snatching, they forgot their cricketing dream and turned into full-time criminals. They wore leather jackets and put on red and black helmets to target lone women, the police said.
How the accused were caught
Recently, the accused had robbed a woman near Brindavan Park in Jayanagar when a police constable Srinivas spotted them trying to escape on a bike. Srinivas informed the police station following which nakabandi was put in place. The constable chased the accused on his bike and eventually hit their bike near NMKRV College. As the accused fell off their bike, the police arrested them. During the interrogation they confessed to snatching the chain near the park and also opened up about other cases.