A thief carrying cash and ornaments fell down nine stories as he tried to escape security guards by climbing down a thin gas pipeline in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, in northern India. He died immediately as he hit the ground during early hours of Wednesday local time.

The incident came to light at 4 a.m. Wednesday (5:30 p.m. EST Tuesday) at a residential complex when an unidentified man was suspected to be inside an apartment on the ninth floor. The house was empty at the time of the theft, as the couple who lived there worked night shifts. The police said the thief was armed with a toy gun, a pack of red chili powder, a wire cutter, a screwdriver, a torch and a cell phone; he was also wearing a monkey cap to hide his face.

The thief was still in the house when the owner returned, and she consequently raised an alarm. The security guards saw the man trying to escape by climbing down a gas pipeline and when one of them shone his flashlight and pointed his gun at the thief, the man got scared and slipped and fell to the ground below, face down.

“As the accused found no place to run, he decided to climb down the gas pipeline,” said Ravi Kumar, assistant superintendent of police for the area.

The 30-year-old thief was identified as Dharmendra Kumar, a resident of east New Delhi who had been involved in previous cases of theft and was also jailed in the western state of Gujarat. The items he had stolen, worth 9,900 Indian rupees ($140), were lying around his body, along with a can of pepper spray.

Once the police arrived, they registered a complaint against Kumar on the basis of the statement given by a security guard. Kumar’s family did not lodge any complaint.

The couple that was robbed suspect the thief came into their house through the balcony from the roof as the door of the house was not tampered with. They believe he tried to escape the same way before being spotted.

Members of the housing society suspect he came in from an adjacent vacant plot of land that was dark by climbing on a mound of soil near the wall and then jumping over the compound wall.

Kumar’s body was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival and the body was sent for autopsy.