Alappuzha: Several cars were found with smashed window panes in Alappuzha town on the morning of February 7. It has come to light that a smart probe by the police led them to the culprit within days of the intriguing incident. Even the motive of the crime is as strange as the serial vandalisation which is rarely reported from Kerala.
From the complaints filed at the local police station that morning itself revealed that around 25 cars were targeted that night. The cops initially dubbed it as an attack carried out by anti-social elements but only a comprehensive probe by the police managed to unravel the mystery.
The police team had at first searched the entire Alappuzha town but could not find any evidence near the spots were vehicles were vandalised. It had rained the previous night, proving to be another roadblock for the probe. The cops then turned their focus on to the CCTV images and tracking the mobile phones.
The police collected over 200 CCTV images from across the town. However, most images were not clear owning to the rain and poor light. But the police could ascertain that the assailant had turned up in a pickup van. The cops could identify some letters and symbols on the van.
They collected information about owners of similar pickup vans in the district with the help of the regional transport officer. Enquiries were also made to find out where they were on the day of the attack. Another round of examination of the CCTV images pinpointed at a particular pickup. Enquiries on this van led the police to its owner Sreelal (Mithun).
The youth was summoned to the police station. But after he denied of any wrongdoing, he was let off. The police also checked his mobile phone records and found that the mobile tower locations proved his presence in areas where the attack took place.
When his house and van were checked, the cops found broken pieces of windows and tools such as the jack handle in the van. The accused then had to confess to the crime. Thus, four days after the incident, the police were able to record the arrest of the accused.
The motive for the attack
The attack was triggered after Sreelal was frustrated over losing Rs 40,000 in the sale of second-hand vehicles. Irked by this, Sreelal smashed the window of a car owned by a certain Rajesh at Kommadi around 1am on February 7. It was only to confuse the cops, he went around the town in the pickup and smashed the windows of cars parked across the town!