Thiruvananthapuram: A thief in Kerala who tried to snatch a gold chain from a woman in the middle of the night never bargained for a hot chase by her on a motorcycle.

Neither did he anticipate his capture when he went looking for his mobile phone that had been lost in a scuffle with his brave victim.

The incident happened in the early hours of Thursday, at Vadasserikara in Pathanamthitta district.

Suspect Balesh Kumar, 33, allegedly stole a four-sovereign gold chain from Shoji Mathew through an open window, taking the gold chain that she had kept on a table while going to bed.

When she heard the thief, Shoji Mathew — the wife of one Mathew Joseph — decided to give chase on her scooter, while Kumar fled on his own motorcycle.

She caught up with the thief after about 4km down the road and kicked him down, after which a scuffle ensued between the two during which Kumar tore the victim’s clothes.

As she wrestled with Kumar, Shoji screamed out aloud for help, waking up neighbours.

When the lights were switched on in neighbouring houses, Kumar fled the scene on his scooter. But he had also dropped his mobile phone in the melee.

At the break of dawn when he came looking for the mobile, he was apprehended by local residents and handed over to the police. The gold chain was recovered from his scooter.

Later, it emerged Shoji had decided to give chase despite her family members warning her against going out in the night after the thief.

What Kumar did not know was that Shoji had given a similar successful chase to a labourer from out of Kerala who worked in her area when he stole her mobile phone a few months ago.

There was wide appreciation for Shoji’s exploits on social media, but there were also some comments of caution.

“Great example of women empowerment, but if the thief had a knife with him the story would have been different”, commented one.

“Commendable work by the lady, but she should also give more care to keeping her possessions safe”, said another about her keeping the gold chain on a table in the night and leaving the window open.

“Reminds me of the people pulling down state governments that had cheated people”, said a third in a lighter vein, while another said “she will make for a manly director general of police”.

Theft of Rs6

In another incident of theft, an unknown intruder who entered an anganvadi (a government-assisted nursery) made off with a mere Rs6 (Dh0.30), finding nothing else of value in the building.

The incident happened on Wednesday in Edakunnam near Kanjirapally in Kottayam district. Finding nothing else, the thief broke open a plastic piggy bank of the children, taking the six rupees that was in it.

A search of the building on Thursday morning by the staff showed nothing else had been lost.

“Poor, poor thief. One had some respect for thieves but they are stooping so low. Please return the money to the children”, said one person on social media.

“Those six rupees had more value to the children than Rs 2 trillion for Mukesh Ambani”, commented another.