'Bunty's thirst for burglary took him to south'

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The infamous high-tech, super thief "Bunty Chor" from Delhi who burgled hundreds of houses across north India for decades shifted base to south to avoid being identified and continue his trade, police said here following his arrest in Pune.

Bunty was arrested from Pune early Sunday where he had escaped after breaking into a non-resident Indian businessman Venugopalan Nair's house in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram Jan 21, and stole goods worth Rs.50 lakh.

He allegedly de-activated the electronic surveillance system installed in the house and drove away with Nair's sports utility vehicle (SUV) worth Rs.28 lakh, a laptop and two mobile phones. At present he is in the custody of Kerala Police.

He was arrested for the first time in 1993 when he was a teenager, but managed to escape from police custody. The following year he was apprehended in Mumbai while travelling in a stolen car but again managed to give the police the slip.

The middle-aged Devinder Singh, alias "Bunty Chor", became a well-known name after the cult Bollywood movie "Oye Lucky Lucky Oye" released in 2008, which was reportedly based on his life.

A couple of years later, he appeared in the popular reality show "Bigg Boss Season 4" aired on TV channel Colors.

According to a Delhi Police official, who was member of the team that arrested Bunty in January 2012 after his last reported theft in the capital, Bunty had committed 500 burglaries and had vowed to cross the 1,000 mark.

" 'Ek hazaar choriyo ke baad hi marunga (I will die only after I commit a thousand burglaries)', he (Bunty) told me," said the official.

"He had committed over 500 burglaries in Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and a majority of them in Delhi. He wanted to cross the 1,000 mark but was a known face in north India," added the official.

Agreed Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) S.B.S. Tyagi, who said: "The purpose of going to south (India) might be to keep his identity hidden."

After being arrested several times, he was imprisoned for three years in 2005. Following his release, the police tried to rehabilitate him by getting him employed with a detective agency, but to no avail.

A school dropout, Bunty never bought a property and instead used to live in five-star hotels.

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