The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Out of bed, at robbers’ heels
- One student plays cop, another drives off with Merc

Calcutta, Aug. 11: An 18-year-old schoolboy got out of bed to chase a gang of criminals alone today, and after being stopped by a hit on the chest provided police with the clues to catch one of them.

Class XI student Soumyajyoti Dutta, the tall and lean drummer of local rock band Ether, sprinted 200 yards after the thieves in pre-dawn darkness through the lanes of Santoshpur after none of his neighbours responded to his calls.

Soon, he had caught up with the men who had just robbed the electronics shop opposite his home and was lunging at one of them, throwing him to the ground.

But the man jumped back to his feet, picked up one of the three stolen handycams he had dropped, and hurled it back at his pursuer. Hit, Soumyajyoti stopped for a moment and the thieves fled.

But they hardly realised that while chasing them, the student of Lake View High School had overheard them discussing the venue of their next meeting.

The teen picked up the handycams, still in sealed packets, and ran back to the burgled shop. There, his father Dipak was waiting with Sudip Dutta, an officer from East Jadavpur police station leading a police patrol. It was 3.15am.

“The officer patted me and asked me to hold the three packets and went after the gang. An hour and a half later, he returned with the man who had hit me,” the teen said.

The man had jumped into a pond when he saw the police jeep but the officer had jumped in after him.

“We have recovered almost the entire booty. The thief, Raju, says he is from Howrah. We’ll soon round up the other two. Soumyajyoti did a great job,” Sudip Dutta said.

“I feel great. But it was disconcerting to see that in spite of our appeals, none of the neighbours joined us,” Soumyajyoti said.

Dipak later said his wife Tripti had been woken up just after 2.30am by the sound of glass panes shattering across the street. “She looked out and saw three men breaking into the shop opposite our house. I woke up my sons and dialled the police,” Dipak said.

“I called out to some of my neighbours’ sons but none responded. I walked out with my younger son (Soumyajyoti). Soon, we saw a police jeep and showed them the road behind the shop so they could surprise the thieves.”

But as the jeep took a turn, Soumyajyoti suddenly spotted the gang in one of the by-lanes.

Rajesh Baid, the owner of the electronics shop, Fairdeal International JS, said, “Once the dust settles down, I’ll surely see if I can give the boy a token of appreciation.”

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