Mumbai, Jan 9: The police here force-fed four dozen bananas to a chain-snatcher to recover a stolen gold chain he had swallowed to escape public wrath, an officer said here on Saturday.
The incident occurred in the Ghatkopar east fish market in the eastern suburbs late Wednesday night when the accused, Gopi R. Ghaware snatched a woman's 25 gms (2.50 tolas) gold chain and bolted.
As the woman screamed, some residents gave chase, pinned him down and hammered him, according to investigating officer Kailash Tirmare of Pant Nagar Police Station here.
A police patrol in the vicinity arrived and took charge of Ghaware, a resident of Wadala and took him to the nearby Rajawadi Hospital for treatment.
An x-ray revealed on Thursday morning that a metallic object -- purportedly the stolen chain -- was lying in his stomach, proof of the 25-year old thief's first ever crime.
The woman victim had not yet lodged a compliant so the police interrogated Ghaware who admitted to swallowing the gold chain.
Police arranged for another x-ray on Thursday evening which confirmed the earlier x-ray report. Then it ordered a basketful of bananas and forced Ghaware to eat them till the wee hours.
Early on Friday, he was escorted to the loo by four policemen, who also filmed the morning ablution as the chain finally slithered out of Ghaware's system.
Police ordered him to wash it with phenyl and placed him under arrest. He was produced before a magistrate on Friday and remanded to custody.
This is not the first time Mumbai police has gone bananas to retrieve stolen goods swallowed by thieves.
Last April, a thief Anil Yadav, was fed five dozen bananas and liquids in an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve a Rs.60,000 gold chain whose large pendant got stuck in the food pipe.
Aided by the special diet, he finally excreted it after three days. But the disgusted victim refused to touch the chain, took it to a jeweler in a plastic bag and got a new chain for herself.
Later in July, a thief successfully relieved himself of a 'mangalsutra' worth Rs.30,000 after eating two dozen bananas, laxatives and several litres of milk.