MUMBAI: With some ingenious sleuthing, a 19-year-old teacher from Andheri managed to track down the man who had stolen her Android cellphone. The woman used another handset to track every online activity of the thief and got the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to nab him just as he was leaving the city by train. RPF personnel handed over Selvaraj Shetty (32) to the Dadar GRP outpost where a case of theft was registered against him on Monday.
Zeenat Banu Haq, a Marol resident, teaches at a preschool in the same neighbourhood. On Sunday, after returning from a trip to Malad, she could not find her Xiaomi 4A smartphone. “I couldn’t recollect where my phone went missing,” Zeenat told TOI.
She logged onto her Google account and turned on the “location” on her stolen phone. There is a section called “My Activity” in a Google account where one can view and manage things such as websites visited, videos watched and searches done.
I used another Android handset to log onto my Google account and keep a track of the activities done using the stolen phone. I found that the thief had searched for songs from the Rajinikanth starrer ‘Kaala’. He used the SHAREit app, updated WhatsApp messenger and accessed Facebook. Then, he downloaded an app for booking railway tickets,” said Haq.
As the battery status of the stolen phone could be seen, Haq gathered from the draining battery that the handset was being excessively used. The man then booked a Dadar-Tiruvannamalai railway ticket for Sunday and took a screenshot of the PNR number and seat details. He also took a picture of himself.
“Through Google Photos, I accessed his ticket details as well as his photo. A quick internet search showed that the train was Puducherry Express and it would leave from Dadar Terminus around 9.30pm on Sunday. I left home and headed straight for Dadar Terminus where I found RPF personnel and narrated everything,” said Haq. The young woman continued to track the thief ’s activity as the “‘location” option of her stolen phone was on.
She could see the bridge that he took to reach Dadar Terminus. The RPF waited after the train arrived but the man didn’t arrive immediately.
“When he finally arrived and took his seat, the RPF started to quiz him. My phone was found but he claimed that it had been mortgaged with him. By then, I had broken down as I was scared. But the RPF asked a lot of questions and he and the woman he was travelling with gave contradictory answers,” said Haq.