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September, 2017:

Crazy Thieves of Ambattur

The other day a friend cattily suggested that with the nation’s economy tanking many of us may soon need to resort to burglary. And my response as a responsible journalist was, “we better, especially because there is an alarming decline in the quality of existing criminals”.

My statement was based on what had happened last week at the residence of my friend Janardanan, who for the sake of protecting his identity, I will refer to only as Jana.

Now, Jana (not his original name) and his wife, Mrs. Jana (her original name), are residents of Trichy, and they had been out of town for a few days, and when they returned they found books and other stuff in their house scattered all around, just like it would be if it were under the maintenance of a teen-age boy.

It did not take long for Jana and his wife to figure out that their house had been broken into. But Jana, thanks to the state of the economy, had not much cash or valuables in the house, and the thief after searching the house desperately must have left the place in extreme rage.

As it happened, while cleaning the place, Jana stumbled upon a laminated duplicate driving licence, which he deduced must have been the guy’s who had entered his house. He immediately reached out to the local police and handed over the licence to them. The police, quickly moving into action mode, rounded up the would-be thief and arrested him for driving around with a duplicate licence, which is a major crime these days.

Okay, on a serious note, the police did not arrest him, as Jana was not ready to file a formal complaint, and the criminal was let off with a reprimand, most likely a stern advice to get his act together and not be careless to lose his driver’s licence at his work spot.

Jana and I had a good laugh about it when he narrated the incident to me, and we shook our heads, as two middle-aged guys would, and wondered what the world was coming to. “If thieves themselves are so clumsy, I see no hope for the future,” Jana said and I nodded in sageful agreement.

But this story pales in comparison to the one about two thieves who stole a dog and tried to sell it on an online site two years ago in Ambattur.

The first mistake that the two thieves, both apparently college students, did was they chose to steal a pug. I don’t know about you but I am always suspicious of people who own pug, leave alone who steal one.

Pugs, I believe, are not bred, they are created. Pugs have a unique frontal structure, as if someone had angrily stamped on their face. That ‘someone’ is usually themselves. Most dogs repeatedly bang, face-first, into doors even before the owners can open the doors and take them out for wee-wee. This brainless banging is what give the pugs their specialty face.

Getting back to the story of the thieves, they turned out to be — it’s a medical miracle — more brainless than even pugs. After stealing the pug, which was named Maya, the duo immediately put out, not one but two, ads on an online site for selling the pug at a rate much below the market value. The ad included a pic of Maya without even removing her original dog collar. The thieves had also given their own phone numbers in the ads. They also had posted their Aadhaar numbers along with their PAN card details.

Okay, I am kidding about the last one. But only just. ¬†If dogs had the ability to ‘facepalm’, then Maya would certainly have done that looking at the working style of her thieves.

The owners of Maya themselves zeroed in on the thieves (they just called them on their phone) without having to go to the police, but they later handed over the duo to the cops, who considering the fact that the thieves were college students did not arrest them. But we hope that the cops gave the thieves the right advice to give up robbery and take up stand-up comedy, for which they sure seemed to possess great talent.

In summation I should say, such incompetence persists, the government must think of some stimulus package, if not for the economy, then at least for robbers to stay in business. It should be easy for the government to transfer some kind of subsidy directly to the bank accounts of robbers. The government need not ask for their bank account numbers.

Robbers, these days, can be trusted to drop these details at the scene of crime.