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Snatching cuffs on schoolboy

A Class XII student of a central Calcutta school was arrested on Friday for allegedly snatching a girl’s purse, containing her phone and other valuables, in front of Mandeville Gardens a few weeks ago.

The 19-year-old, a resident of the Taltala area, had snatched the bag as a dare while riding his motorcycle with two friends on pillion.

“The boy has been arrested in front of a hotel in the Esplanade area. He comes from an affluent family. His father runs a printing press. We are looking for the other two students who were with him that day. His bike has been impounded,” said joint commissioner (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh.

Police sources said he was apparently showing off to his friends how to snatch a bag in the “nick of time”.

Complainant Khushbu Kumari Singh, a 20-year-old second-year college student from the Ballygunge area, was walking home along Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue from Mandeville Garden around 8pm on March 10 when the trio on a motorcycle grabbed her bag and sped away, the police said.

Khushbu tried to raise the alarm but the bike vanished in one of the bylanes that connect Ballugunge with Kasba.

A case was reported with Gariahat police station that night.

The purse contained a cell phone, a silver anklet, a debit card and Rs 1,000.

“They had kept the phone with a man unaware of the crime. The phone was switched off and the battery removed, hence making it difficult to track it. We established the boy’s identity through a sketch based on the girl’s description,” said an officer.

The police said her phone has been recovered.

“We learnt that only the pillion riders were wearing helmets while the bike’s numberplate was covered with a cloth,” an officer said.

Exactly two days later, an identical snatching took place on Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue. Three boys on a bike pulled a gold chain off a woman’s neck while she was waiting for a bus in front of the Haldiram outlet in the area.

The similarities pointed to the trio but police have yet to gather any evidence suggesting that the boy and his friends were involved in the second incident as well.

This was the second case in 10 days where a student has been arrested on the charge of snatching.

On March 20, two BCom first-year students were put behind bars for allegedly stealing a phone from a homemaker while she was on her evening walk in front of her Survey Park home.