A 28-year-old thief, who would travel in airplanes, stay in five-star hotels and rent high-end cars to allegedly rob ATM users, was arrested by the Mumbai Police earlier this week. Before the police could act on an ATM user’s complaint, the accused would fly back to his hometown in Odisha the same night after committing the theft.
The accused, Shambhav Kumar Achariya, was arrested on Tuesday from a five-star hotel near the airport after he was booked in a cheating case registered by a journalist, working with a weekly newspaper, at the Sakinaka police station.
An officer from the police station said: “The reporter was withdrawing cash from a nationalised ATM kiosk. When the machine was about to dispense the cash, the accused entered the kiosk and claimed that the machine is not working… he asked the victim to use another ATM in the same kiosk.”
Following this, Achariya fled with the cash that was dispensed by the first machine, he added. After the case was registered, the police started scrutinising the CCTV cameras at the kiosk. “As we zeroed in on the suspect, we showed his picture to the complainant… We found that the suspect had got into a car parked near the ATM kiosk… we got the car’s registration number and called the driver for questioning,” said the officer.
During interrogation, the driver revealed that Achariya would call and book his car in advance. “We told the driver to call the suspect and ask him when was he planning his next trip to Mumbai. After he revealed that he would show up on August 28, we laid a trap,” the officer added.
On August 28, the driver picked Achariya from the domestic airport and dropped him at a five-star hotel. Following this, Achariya was arrested. “He confessed and said that he would make a trip to Mumbai at least once in two weeks and fly back to Odisha the same night… He claimed that the ATMs located inside banks take longer to dispense cash… he took advantage of this and targeted people,” said the officer. A college dropout, Achariya has allegedly targeted several people across the country using a similar modus operandi. Sakinaka police said following the arrest, many others have started approaching the police station with similar complaints against Achariya.