NEW DELHI: A self-trained parkour practitioner and an expert lock picker, Mohammad Akram made burglary look easy. Since April this year he had targeted at least 12 houses in Hauz Khas Enclave, Anandlok and Golf Links, evading capture each time. His spree came to an end on Tuesday, when a beat constable nabbed him while fleeing after burgling a house in south Delhi’s Safdarjung Development Area.
Akram, who could slither up walls or pipes and enter a room as stealthily as a cat, had broken into the house of an elderly woman. However, alerted to his presence, she raised an alarm. He tried to hail an autorickshaw to escape, but the three-wheeler driver informed the police instead.
TOI had reported about the then unnamed burglar’s exploits on May 30 and June 13. Akram’s identity was confirmed by police after his arrest at SDA. Police discovered he was involved in more than 30 cases of burglary since 2004. He had been arrested at least three times in Delhi and several times in UP. Every time he was released, the cat burglar targeted a different colony in order to avoid arousing the cops’ suspicion.
“He wore gloves, covered his face and wore shades to ensure no part of his body was visible,” revealed a police officer. “He usually turned any CCTV camera he detected away from the line of sight of doors or entered buildings via the terrace or balcony.” He also wore clothes that were designed for easy removal if someone were to grab him. In his confession, Akram disclosed that he worked as a mason between 2001 and 2004. It was during this time that he honed his parkour skills, learning to jump from one part of the scaffolding to another without the assistance of ropes. He was first jailed in 2004 after being caught for stealing from a south Delhi house where he had been contracted to work on floor tiles, a senior police officer said.
On his release from jail, he took to crime fulltime. In 2014, he returned to his home town of Bijnore, where he has two school-going daughters. “But I was forced to return to Delhi in order to sustain my family,” Akram told his interrogators at Safdarjung police station.
“I have never harmed anyone physically during the robberies,” Akram told the cops. Indeed, in one case in SDA, he rifled through the closets in a room in which the house owner was sleeping without harming him.
Police took Akram to 16 locations on Wednesday and Thursday to recover the goods he had stolen. They plan to demand stricter punishment for the cat burglar since he is a serial offender.