Abul Kashem, clad in a white panjabee and a tupi (traditional dresses for Muslims), would impress you as a pious man at first sight.
But your eyebrows may be raised if you come to know that this simple-looking man, in reality, has been breaking into homes and stealing gold and other valuables in different areas of Dhaka for long 15 years.
His son Rahmat and nephew Sohan was his two associates, according to Hafiz Al Faruq, additional deputy commissioner (Tejgaon Zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
Police busted the gang of thieves when they were investigating two cases of thefts that took place in Mahanagar Project in Hatirjheel area last month.
Sources said the gang stole 50 bhories of gold and Tk60,000 in cash from a house in Mahanagar Project area on February 24. The victim filed a case at Hatirjheel police station.
Earlier on February 19, two bhories of gold and some cash were stolen from another house in the same area, said sources.
Police collected all CCTV footages from the area after these two incidents. While investigating these cases, they examined CCTV footages from 114 cameras to identify the thieves.
In the footage of February 24, police saw a man (Kashem) wearing white panjabee and tupi was loitering on the street in front of the building where thieves struck. A young man clad in jeans and T-shirt was walking nearby. After a while, the youth entered the building first, and the man wearing panjabee followed him. Seven minutes later, the young man came out first with a bag on his shoulder, and then the other man followed him.
In another video footage, police saw that they fled the scene on a motorcycle.
Following the investigation, the law enforcers arrested Rahmat and Sohan on March 20 from Hatirjheel area. Based on their information, police arrested Kashem from Banasree area on the next day.
After getting arrested, Kashem gave startling accounts of his method of stealing during interrogation.
The officials involved in the investigation said Kashem has been robbing houses in many areas including Banani, Uttara, Mohammadpur, Rampura, and Demra areas in the city for many years.
Police said Kashem bought a 1,600sft flat in Banasree, Rampura with the money he looted. In addition, he has a three-storied building on a 3-katha plot in Uttar Khan area.
He sends his two daughters renowned schools in the city with his earnings from robbing.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Hafiz Al Faruq yesterday said, "Kashem was the leader of the group. His son Rahmat stayed in Dubai. He joined the gang after returning from there."
The additional deputy commissioner said Kashem used to roam different areas appearing as a pious person. During the daytime, he used to observe if clothes were hung to dry at a flat's veranda, and at night, he would notice if lights were on in a flat. If not, he assumed that no one was staying in that flat.
Then Kashem used to tactfully ask the security guards of the buildings whether anyone was living in the flats. When he became completely sure that no one was there, he broke into the flats and looted valuables.
Hafiz Al Faruq said, "Kashem is exceptionally skilled in breaking locks. He takes only 10 to 15 seconds to do that."
Police said Kasehm is from Brahmanbaria district, where everybody knows him as a gold merchant.