Kerala police on Monday arrested a youth who stole a private bus and drove across four districts spanning over 300 kilometres amid strict covid-19 movement restriction in the state. Police held 30-year-old Dinoop from Chakkittappara in Kozhikode for stealing a private bus from Kuttiady. The officials also took the bus into custody.
The bus, owned by Ayub, was stolen from the Kuttiady New Bus Stand 54 kilometres away from the district headquarters around 7 pm on Saturday. It had then already been 12 hours since the state government had announced a nine-day lockdown. From there, Dinoop drove through Malappuram, Thrissur, and Ernakulam districts and reached Kumarakom via Vaikom.
The police stopped the bus on Sunday at 5 am near the Kavanattinkara check post in Kumarakom. The youth told the authorities that he was going to bring migrant workers from Ranni in Pathanamthitta district. Since he was the only person in the vehicle and did not possess travel documents, a police team led by SI S Sureshkumar and civil police officers K Bash, A C Anishkumar and AMV Prajeesh began verification. It was then found that the bus was flagged as stolen in Kuttiady.
Police said the accused had previous charges of theft in Kuttiady police station and Kozhikode rural station. He was handed over to the Kuttiady police and a case was filed for theft and violating Covid-19 curbs. According to the police, he planned to dismantle the bus and sell it as scrap.
This is the second incident of stealing of bus in the state in the last 90 days. Earlier this year, a state-owned KSRTC bus parked near the Kottarakara depot in Kollam was stolen in an incident earlier this year. The bus was found 26 kilometres away in Parippally district.
The driver thought the vehicle was taken by his colleague for duty as buses that return late in the night are usually parked outside the depot complex, given the limited space inside the facility. However, he raised an alarm after he failed to locate the vehicle.
In a similar incident in August 2017, a youth had stolen a KSRTC bus from Kollam depot. Though his original plan was to take the bus to his native place in Attingal, the bus was found crashed into an electric post a kilometre away from the depot before getting caught by the police.