The Mumbai police have arrested a 46-year-old Bengaluru resident Munmun Hussain, alias Archana Barua aka Nikki for stealing handbags of women across several cities. The Mumbai crime branch was in the lookout for Hussain for almost two years in a case of stealing jewellery worth Rs 15 lakh. Munmun Hussain has similar cases registered against her in several cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Modus operandi of the 46-year-old Bengaluru resident Munmun Hussain
The police confirmed that Hussain used to fly to other cities in the morning, go to a high profile shopping outlet or mall, steal the handbags of customers there, and fly back home to Bengaluru in the evening. The woman has confessed that she had been doing this since 2009, as per a report in Indian Express.
During the investigation, it was revealed that Hussain had committed thefts across the country with over 10 cases registered against her in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and in Mumbai. Explaining her modus operandi, Mumbai police said that in Mumbai alone, Hussain, an orchestra bar singer by profession, was wanted in three cases for stealing bags of customers at Zara and Lakme showrooms.
The case came to the fore after she stole at Zara showroom at High Street Phoenix Mall in Lower Parel in 2019. Hussain had walked away with the bag of a woman customer from the bill counter. The woman lodged a complaint at NM Joshi Marg police station on April 6, 2019. The complainant alleged that she had lost her phone, gold ornaments and cash totalling to Rs 14.90 lakh. “While the complainant was paying the bill, she kept her handbag on the floor and Hussain picked it up and fled,” said Police Inspector Yogesh Chavan.
“We were looking for her since 2018. Recently with the help of human sources and technical evidence, we managed to identify her and nabbed her from Bengaluru. We had managed to get CCTV footage in which Hussain was clearly visible. We also managed to seize all the stolen property including jewellery, cash, mobile phone and all the documents she had stolen a year ago,” said Chavan.
Hussain confessed to stealing bags of two other customers from Zara in Lower Parel and Lakme beauty parlour in Shivaji Park in 2018, police said. One woman at the beauty salon had complained that she had lost her handbag with over Rs 4 lakh in cash and valuables.
Was arrested in 2018 too
The 46-year-old lady lives in Bengaluru with her child and parents. She was arrested in 2018 too from the Bengaluru airport for stealing cash from the handbag of a passenger while she was undergoing the security check. CISF had nabbed Munmun after scanning CCTV footages and learning that she had a return flight on the same day.
“She committed her first crime in Kolkata and has been doing it since then. We believe that there are several other cases registered against her in other cities as well. We are trying to get details,” said an officer.