A middle-aged man who ran away with a gold necklace from a jewellery store in Bowbazar after throwing chilli powder in the eyes of a salesperson was chased and caught by a cop on patrol on Tuesday afternoon.
Maqbool Islam, 40, entered Gold Palace, at 210A BB Ganguly Street, around 12.30pm and asked a salesman to show him gold chains and necklaces, said an officer of Muchipara police station.
The salesman, Srinath Khan, showed several chains to Islam. He inspected all the items carefully and kept them on the counter, saying that he did not like any of them. He then asked Khan to show him more chains.
“As the employee got busy to show another set of chains and necklaces, Islam put his right hand into his trouser pocket and brought out a fistful of chilli powder. The moment Khan faced him, Islam threw chilli powder into his eyes, picked up one of the necklaces and ran out of the shop,” added the officer.
Khan recovered quickly and ran after Islam. Alerted by the salesman’s cries, other traders and their employees joined the chase. Jayanta Mukherjee, a sub-inspector who was patrolling the area on a motorcycle, saw the group and rode after Islam down College Street.
“After about 200 metres, Mukherjee managed to catch hold of Khan. The officers and the traders pinned him down on the ground,” said Subrata Das, the additional officer-in-charge of Muchipara police station.
Islam was arrested and the necklace recovered from him. During interrogation, he told police that he was a resident of Budge Budge in South 24-Parganas and a professional snatcher.
“Although Islam is a Class VIII dropout, he speaks well and can impress anyone. He entered the shop when there was no one inside. He was smartly dressed and when he introduced himself as a businessman, the three salesmen found no reason to be suspicious,” said another officer.