A case of cellphone theft took a dangerous turn after the phone turned out to be linked to a CCTV at the complainant’s residence. The suspect allegedly started monitoring the movements of the complainant and threatened to harm her year-old daughter unless he was paid Rs 1 lakh. Rahul Hiwale (26) of Kandivali was arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch Monday.
On September 14, the complainant, a resident of Sion, was watching a programme at Shanmukhananda Hall when her cellphone - a Samsung S3 - went missing. Her husband later called her number hoping to get the phone back. The man who responded, who was later identified as Hiwale, demanded Rs 5,000 in exchange for the phone. A complaint was lodged with the Sion police.
Hiwale allegedly instructed the complainant to leave the money with the cashier of a grocery store and leave. He told her that she would get her phone back after he collected the money.
The Sion police kept a watch at the store. However, Hiwale had allegedly told the cashier at the store, who was a friend, that some friends of his would be leaving a package for him and that he would be collecting it later. Hiwale managed to collect the packet and slip away, evading the police.
“The complainant started receiving frequent calls from Hiwale, who hiked his demand to Rs 1 lakh,” said a Crime Branch officer. “Hiwale had found that the CCTV footage of the complainant’s residence was linked to the phone through a software and he started keeping a watch on the movements of the family. He also found photographs of the complainant’s year-old daughter in the phone, which he posted on her Facebook profile with a caption saying ‘Save Her’, which was a veiled threat.”
Acting on instructions of Crime Branch officers, the complainant’s husband contacted Hiwale and expressed willingness to pay him. After negotiation, he settled on Rs 25,000 and a meeting was fixed at Chaityabhoomi in Dadar. Hiwale was arrested by plainclothes policemen as soon as he accepted the money.
“Hiwale has a D.Ed degree