Cell phone thief meets his match
A cell phone snatcher in Borella got more than he bargained for on Friday night. The thief grabbed the cell phone from his intended victim who was answering a phone call and tried to vanish into the night on a fast-moving cycle.

What the man did not expect for was that his intended victim, Duminda Ariyasinghe, a Sri Lankan living in Toronto, Canada was a seasoned Karate-ka.

Ariyasinghe reacted instantly and chased the speeding cyclist, bringing him down with a flying tackle. He then quickly subdued the attacker with some kicks and karate chops, before pinning him to the ground. The 20-year-old thief who did not expect such a forceful counter attack gave up fighting and pleaded innocence saying that he was only trying to "borrow" the phone to make an emergency phone call.

Later, when a neighbour arrived with a van to take the street thug to the nearby police station, the thief got back into his cycle and escaped. But by then, he had dropped his national identity card and his own new cell phone, presumably one stolen from another victim, perhaps someone visiting the nearby Lady Ridgeway Hospital. Mr. Ariyasinghe handed both items to the Borella Police who moved in quickly to arrest the suspect.

A police officer remarked that this was a rare instance where the intended victim not only recovered his own possession after subduing the attacker, but also produced the identity card and the object of desire of the alleged thief, his own mobile phone.

Referring to the fear psychosis gripping the country that has emboldened criminals, Mr. Ariyasinghe stressed the need to fight back in any way possible. "The passivity of our society is such that victims are too scared even to scream. Of course, not everyone can fight back forcefully, but sometimes even a scream or the throwing of a slipper can scare these criminals, who are cowards preying on our passivity."

"Twenty years ago an attacker in a public place would have to budget for a hostile public reaction directed at him. But now the scales are tipped in the criminals's favour as the attacker can count on public passivity, essentially leaving the victim one-on-one with the attacker," Mr. Ariyasinghe remarked.

Referring to his own incident, Mr. Ariyasinghe said he wasn't sure if the attacker carried a weapon such as a knife. "When I tackled him, I quickly subdued him for his own protection," said Mr. Ariyasinghe, a second degree Black Belt who has studied martial arts in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Canada. "But of course, if he had pulled a knife, it would have been much more dangerous to him as I would have reacted with much stronger force!"

Charged with attempted robbery is Ranasinghe Arachchige Oshada Sanjeewa of Maradana Road, Borella. Borella Police are investigating.

Top  Back to News  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.