It helps to double check the identity of a “wealthy restaurateurs” who offers to buy your used cellphones.
Abdul Basit Saleem had listed his Apple iPhone for sale on a website, and soon got a call from a prospective buyer.
The caller introduced himself as Shehzad Ahmed. Oddly, the potential buyer, instead of going to the seller, invited him to Savour Foods restaurant in Blue Area, which “he claimed to own,” Saleem told the Kohsar police.
Excited by the prospect of selling his phone at a good price, Rs40,000, Saleem arrived at Savour Foods for dinner with his self-proclaimed ‘host’.
When he arrived, he met two well-dressed men who greeted him outside the restaurant. One of them was Ahmed, the other a friend. The two men took him inside and ordered burgers for the three. “Saleem did not question why the ‘owner’ had not sent one of his staff members to receive him,” said a police official quoting Saleem.
“He greeted me so cordially that I failed to suspect for a moment that the man was lying,” said Saleem. At one of the tables in the restaurant, Saleem gave his phone to Ahmed for checking. The latter asked his accomplice to take the phone upstairs to his family.
Ahmed claimed to be buying the phone for his wife, and wanted her to approve of the purchase. After a while, Ahmed got up, to “get his drink changed from the counter”, while Saleem continued eating his burger.
Saleem received the first shock when the waiter brought him a bill for three. He told the waiter that he was a guest of the owner, who had just gone to get his cold drink changed. Finally, he realized he had been played.
The waiter told him that the owner of the restaurant was in Lahore and confirmed that he had not invited him. Saleem rushed upstairs but found no sign of the two fraudsters. They had taken his phone and to add insult to injury, stuck him with the bill for the food. Fortunately, the remaining two burgers were packed for Saleem to take home.
Saleem lodged a complaint at Kohsar Police Station, where a police official said the phone could only be tracked once when it is turned on. He added that the complainant was getting impatient and that recovery would take time. However, he added that they are monitoring the airwaves for a signal from the phone.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.
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