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Thief: 102 & still stealing

BOWLED: Hemant Dash in police custody in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das

Cuttack: Badambadi police have nabbed a burglar, against whom 102 theft cases have been registered at 17 police stations across the state.

Hemanta Dash, the 52-year-old burglar of Old Town in Bhubaneswar, used to sneak into houses at night and leave with jewelleries, ornaments and cash.

Though he had been jailed several times, he used to commit thefts as soon as he was out on bail every time. Around six months ago, the cops caught him after he had committed a theft in Khandagiri police station area, said a police officer. After getting bail in December last, he committed a series of thefts at Gopalpur in Sadar police limits.

"He is a habitual burglar, who has been committing thefts in various parts of Odisha for 30 years," deputy commissioner of police, Cuttack, Akhileswar Singh said.

Hemanta was nabbed on Tuesday during investigation into a complaint lodged at Badambadi police station by Rounak Mishra, a resident of Sriramnagar. In his complaint, Mishra stated that a thief had tried to commit burglary at Vet Pharmaceuticals office by breaking into it on the night of May 7. But, he fled the spot leaving behind his lock-breaking instruments.

"Investigating the case, the police found it to be the handiwork of Hemanta. During interrogation, Hemanta had admitted to have committed the theft," Singh said.

"He had also committed burglary at Gopalpur, Abakash Lane in Puri and at Station Road in Berhampur after getting release from Jharpada jail," he said.

Badambadi police have so far collected information, indicating Hemanta's involvement in theft cases in Puri, Khurda, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jajpur, Angul and Berhampur.

The police said the uniqueness in Hemanta's crime was that he used to commit theft alone at night after doing recce in various areas during daytime, and for that, he would use his scooter or travelled in autos or buses. Sometimes he used his own car too.

Hemanta also allegedly revealed that burglary had been his only means of livelihood since he was in his early 20s and he owned a house at Old Town. He owns a scooter, a car and lived with his wife and two children, the police said.

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