The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Not just a cop, a hero

The city streets threw up two unlikely heroes on Tuesday afternoon — a sub-inspector and a pedestrian, who stopped a tourist in town from being robbed.

Sub-inspector Debashish Banerjee, of New Market police station, teamed up with an unidentified pedestrian to help retrieve the wallet of an American woman.

Ariel E. Landros had come to New Market, along with her husband, to pick up some gift items. On their way out of the market, at around 3 pm, Ariel and her husband hailed a cab and left the area. “While boarding the taxi, they did not realise that a pickpocket had picked her wallet from her handbag,” said an official of the local police station.

A passerby noticed the miscreant picking the woman’s handbag and alerted Banerjee, who was on duty nearby.

“The sub-inspector set off in pursuit of the pickpocket as soon as the witness to the swipe had pointed him out. Realising that a cop was hot on his heels, the pickpocket dropped the wallet and fled,” the official added.

Banerjee picked up the wallet and started searching for the tourists. But, by then, they had left the marketplace in the taxi.

“So, the sub-inspector deposited the wallet at New Market police station and informed the officer on duty that it belonged to a tourist who had been robbed near the market,” explained the thana official.

Ariel had arrived in Calcutta on November 6, accompanied by her husband, and moved into a Lovelock Place guest house. After touring the city extensively, the couple decided to pick up some mementoes from New Market on Tuesday.

When Ariel reached her south Calcutta guest house, she realised that her wallet was missing. The guest house staff asked her to file a complaint, even if chances of getting back her wallet were thin.

On Wednesday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after the wallet went missing, Ariel filed a complaint with Ballygunge police station.

“To her surprise, in less than a quarter of an hour, she was handed back her wallet,” said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

Sub-inspector Banerjee refused to take credit for the act, describing it as his duty.

But for an American woman touring Calcutta, the one memory she will surely be carrying back home is that of a super Calcutta cop.

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