His phone was stolen in DTC bus. Conscious 23-year-old gets it back from 5 pickpockets

What would you do when the moment calls for action—would you get cold feet or fight against all odds till the very end? The awareness and valour exhibited by this 23-year-old Delhi guy did the almost impossible: it got his stolen smartphone back.

Akansh Tiwari, a New Ashok Nagar resident, recounts his experience in tête-à-tête with News24online:

The incident took place on Monday morning when I boarded a jam-packed DTC bus, which was en route to Noida sector 62. Half-a-minute later, a fair man with a shaped beard standing at the gate warned in a hurried tone that my phone—Asus Zenfone Max—has been stolen and that those people were running away with it.

Confident that one could never dare to rob me, I looked around, my curious eyes searching for the victim in the crowded bus. ‘Ae bhai, tumhara phone leke bhag gaya neeche,’ he said, pointing his hands towards me in a stern voice. I fidgeted through my pockets... the mobile was missing. I stood there dazed, my body quite numb with the reality seeping in; darkness engulfed my eyes making it difficult to sign a pact with the situation.

After what seemed like an eternity, I rushed towards bus conductor, requesting him to stop the moving bus. He refused. Standing next to me was a fat man in folded beige coloured shirt, who repeated the same cautious words. Out of the blue, the first person began describing the pickpockets appearance. I grew suspicious.

I recalled the time when I was boarding the bus, the second person had been blocking my way. Something struck in my head. Not fearing the outcome, I reached for his pockets. He acted startled and excused for being a reputed person. Adamant as I was, I dialled 100 on my little Nokia. I reported all the incident to the officer (no one knew that I was faking it) accusing the same person as the thief.

In what would bolster my suspicions, these three men got down swiftly from the moving bus swiftly a little further from South Extension stop. I, too, got down the bus and chased them. I caught the same fair man and threatened him with Delhi police… pretending that I had received a call from them asking further details.

He calmed down a little. He called the other fat guy and they tried escaping an auto. I rushed forward and told the driver that they were pickpockets who stole my phone. Again, I took my Nokia out and pretended to call Delhi police. ‘Bhai, phone rakho na, hum chor ko pakadwa rahe hain, chalo mere saath!,’ the fair one said, still not accepting that he was the partner in crime.

I didn’t hesitate a little. I was seated in the middle, sandwiched between both of them. Inside, I was scared to death, but I was determined to get my phone—I had just paid my first EMI. I faked regular phone calls to Delhi police, sharing with them all the details; little did the other people know that there was no balance on my cell phone. The auto stopped at Nehru Nagar bus stop and we went to the backside petrol pump.

The fair guy called his partner and asked him to bring back the mobile phone. Bitter words flowed out from both sides. About 10-15 minutes later, two men arrived on Hero Honda Passion and took out my phone from a bag, which was half full with mobile phones—of all size and varieties. ‘Bhai, dekh lo bag bhara hua hai, wapas kisi ko dete nahi… sirf tumhe de rahe hain,’ the rider said. I was shocked. I stared long at the escalating bike, the number plate was not clearly visible… it had been folded from the bottom to avoid being noted down. A second later I had a chilled bottle in my hand; I gulped the water down my parched throat, reflecting astoundedly upon what had just transpired.

A 2014 report submitted by Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Chaudhary holds that out of 16,362 complaints of mobile theft that have been registered in Delhi, only 1,081 could be recovered—a meagre 6.60 percent of the total stolen phones that were reported

Also, an  analysis  of the missing mobiles data on Zonal Integrated Police Network (ZIPNET) portal reveals that nearly 41 mobiles reportedly went missing per day from Delhi in 2013 as compared to the 2012 figure of 37.

Written and edited by Mayank Mohanti