A brief stint in the hotel industry taught Hyderabad-based Chintarandi Shrinivasulu (51) that a crisp formal shirt, a pair of trousers and fluent English would suffice to get him entry at any high-end establishment. Police said it was this formula that granted him access to India Habitat Centre and Le Meridien hotel, where he allegedly committed thefts this week.
On Wednesday around 8.30 pm, Shrinivasulu was arrested from Le Meridien hotel after he was caught putting his hand inside the pocket of a suit hanging behind a chair in the lobby, said police. The suit belonged to a French scientist, who was there to attend a robotics conference.
“As soon as the accused saw the security officer, he tried to flee but was caught. Police was called and the man was arrested. During questioning, he said he entered five- and seven-star hotels because of his good communication skills,” said DCP (New Delhi) Dr Eish Singhal.
“The French national did not file a complaint. We have registered a case of attempt to theft,” said an officer.
A police officer said Shrinivasulu was spotted at the hotel three days ago as well, and was “impeccably dressed”.
“The hotel management claimed that after the man’s attempt to theft, a few acquaintances told them on a WhatsApp group that a similar theft had happened at India Habitat Centre, which was not reported. We went to IHC and showed his photo to the management. It turned out that he was there and had allegedly stolen some cash from a foreigner, who didn’t report the matter,” said the officer.
Shrinivasulu lives with his wife and two children in Hyderabad. Police said he had been unemployed for a while and would often travel to other cities, commit thefts and return home.
“During questioning, he said he targeted foreigners because they are less likely to go to police as most of them are here for a short stay and don’t want to be hassled with a probe,” said the officer. The accused allegedly told his family that he was on a “business tour”.
Police said the accused had been in Delhi for a week and stayed at a gurdwara or railway stations. “While we recovered very little cash from him, we found several branded clothes. He said it was important to keep up appearances as it granted him access to hotels,” said police.