Our friendly neighbour, the amateur vehicle thief

nQuestion: What is common between taking a shot at cracking IIT entrance exams and selling a stolen car?

nAnswer: You can flunk in both.

Bokaro youth Abhishek Kumar Singh should know. The 25-year-old eldest son of a retired Bokaro Steel Limited employee tried his hand at both and failed spectacularly.

On Thursday night, a Bokaro police team led by DSP Anil Shankar arrested Abhishek and seized six stolen vehicles from him ' four four-wheelers and two bikes.

Producing him before the media, Shankar said: "Abhishek was arrested late last evening based on a tip-off when he was trying to sell off an Indica car at Sector II. He later told us about other cars and bikes he stole which we then recovered."

The story of this personable youth ' frustrated IIT aspirant and private science tutor who moonlighted as a vehicle lifter in the hope of making a quick buck ' is a tutorial on what aspiring car thieves should and should not do.

Alumnus of Bokaro Ispat Vidyalaya, Abhishek, who lived with his parents, brother and sister at Sector II-D, quarter No. 435, picked his victims wisely.

They were all, without exception, his friends or relatives.

His modus operandi? Cultivating a friendship with his intended victim. Friendship led to long drives together. Then, Abhishek asked his friend a special favour ' a solo spin.

That gave him access to the key of the bike or car with which he could make duplicates.

The next part was easy ' make an appointment with the friend, wait for him to park his vehicle and steal it. Then, call up the friend apologising for the delay. Wait till the friend makes the discovery of the theft. Offer consolations and even accompany him to the police station to lodge an FIR.

Concerned friend Abhishek was a pro at deflecting suspicion.

Then came the difficult part. The amateur hid the stolen vehicles in a park near his home. He did get numberplates changed, but failed to get two important aides.

One, a skilled mechanic who would help him emboss a fresh chassis number. Two, an obliging transport department employee at the DTO's office who would supply fake registration documents.

His one-man show proved to be his undoing when he tried to sell his stolen vehicles.

"Abhishek got into vehicle-lifting since the past eight months. He could not succeed in getting fake registration papers and was an immediate suspect when he tried to strike a deal with buyers. When we caught him red-handed and asked for papers, he couldn't show any," said the DSP.

One doesn't know if Abhishek watched the film of his namesake, Bunty aur Babli, in which Bachchan Junior played a middle class boy who morphs into a wildly successful thief.

There, Abhishek had a charmed life. That's why it was a film.

Do you know of any unusual criminals? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com