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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 25 July 2024 6.28 AM IST

Locals trap accused who stole and sold brand new bicycle gifted by minister; Avanthika gets her cycle back

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KOCHI: The man, who stole the brand new cycle gifted to Avanthika by Minister V Sivankutty, has been arrested. It was the intervention of the locals that led to the arrest of the thief and the recovery of the lost bicycle. The minister had gifted a new bicycle to Palarivattom native Avanthika on the Praveshanolsavam day after she sent him an email seeking help in finding the original bicycle that was stolen from her.

The arrested person has been identified as Alappuzha Arattuvazhy native Shaji (59). He was caught in a trap set by the locals on Saturday morning.

Shaji stole the new bicycle of Avanthika at around 4:30 am on Friday. CCTV footage obtained from the area showed the thief, who was wearing a raincoat, breaking the lock of the cycle and taking it away. The footage was forwarded to WhatsApp groups in Palarivattom. Later, Avanthika and her father Girish reached the Palarivattom station and lodged a complaint. As the police investigation was progressing, the locals came forward to nab the thief.

Upon checking the CCTV footage, the locals found that the thief, who reached the Vattathipalam area on his own bicycle at night, had parked the cycle 500 metres away from Avanthika's house before walking to her house. The locals then stationed in two cars waiting for the thief to come to take back this bicycle. Although they waited until six in the morning on Saturday, the thief did not come back. A few continued to monitor the area. After some time, the accused came to take the bicycle. A group of locals immediately caught him red-handed and handed him over to the police. During the interrogation, Shaji told the police that he sold the bicycle to another person.

Shaji's story
Shaji is a person who collects and sells scrap materials. He is also known for stealing iron objects. Shaji had sold Avanthika's cycle to a Fort Kochi native for Rs 1500. The Fort Kochi native brought the cycle to the Palarivattom police station soon after the police contacted him. The accused was remanded by the court. The Palarivattom police said that the cycle will be handed over to Avanthika after completing the further proceedings. It is reported that Shaji was not the one who stole Avanthika's first cycle.

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