MBA student steals shoes, walks out wearing them, ends up in jail

NOIDA: Brijesh Kumar does not like to return empty handed when he goes to a mall. But he doesn’t always pay for his acquisitions. On Tuesday night, for instance, this MBA student decided he no longer liked the pair of on him. They weren’t too old, just that the new ones on the rack were better.
The 22-year-old was drawn to the shelf lined with the Newfeel brand. He sneaked up to the sneakers — an array of black, white, grey, red and speckled prints — yearning for the new feel of a Newfeel. Brijesh swiftly got rid of the old pair, snaffled a grey pair from the shelf and put them on swiftly. He then crept to the clothes rack, tucked the old shoes under a pile, and slunk out of the main door. Mission accomplished.

But not quite.

The eye-catching Newfeel that had so drawn Brijesh had also caught a guard’s eye. The man posted at the exit of the Decathlon store on the compound sees thousands of shoes clattering in and out of the store every day that don’t catch his eye. So he knew one when he saw one.

But Brijesh wasn’t one to accept defeat as yet. Though from Bihar’s Begusarai, he was well-versed in the ways of his current city. He tried swagger (aggressive body language), intimidation (“my father is a businessman”) and ignorance (what shoe?) before ultimately running out of tricks. He had to part with the Newfeel and reconcile to the old pair, which was still on him when the night ended at a police lockup in Sector 39 after being booked under sections 379 (theft) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property).

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A second-year student at a well-known private university in Noida, Brijesh didn’t steal because he was short of cash, police said, adding he appeared to be from a family that was well off (his brother is a dietician) and was carrying five debit cards and Rs 1,500 in cash in his wallet when he entered the Decathlon store.

A police officer said Brijesh appeared to be fascinated by good footwear and accessories like watches and admitted to shoplifting before, not out of need but because of an urge to own them. He lives in a rented place at Amrapali Sapphire. “He seems to be a repeat offender as he said he likes high-end accessories to show off to his friends. This time he was caught,” said the cop.

Siddhanth Agrawal, Delhi manager, Decathlon, told TOI Brijesh had come to the store late Tuesday night and hid his own pair of shoes behind a pile of clothes around 10.30 pm. “He seemed in a hurry but the brand new pair of Newfeel shoes caught the eye of our security agency,” he said. Sub inspector Vishal Kumar from the GIP police chowki said Brijesh was asked where his own pair of shoes was.

“He was very stubborn and initially claimed his father was a businessman. He was not ready to disclose any details. He was asked to pay for the shoes, which cost over Rs 3,000,” he said. Brijesh was on Wednesday morning sent to judicial custody. It’ll be a while before he wears sneakers again.

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