Three thieves trapped in a house they were burgling in the Indian capital Delhi asked police for help when the owner of the house returned.
The thieves panicked when a huge crowd gathered outside the house, in west Delhi's Tilak Vihar area, fearing they would be lynched, police said.
The three men were arrested and remanded in custody.
Police say this could be the first incident where criminals have called them for assistance.
Home owner Charanjeet Singh had gone to attend a wedding with his family, the police added.
When he returned home at 0200 local time (2030 GMT on Tuesday), he saw that the lights in his house were switched on and the doors were locked from inside.
"So he called us to say that there were burglars in his house," senior police officer V Ranganathan told the BBC.
Mr Singh also woke up his neighbours and soon a crowd gathered outside the house. They padlocked the door from the outside.
"One of the thieves called up the police from his cell phone and said: 'We are thieves and we're locked up in this house.' The police responded quickly and rescued them," Mr Ranganathan said.
He said two of the thieves were Mr Singh's neighbours.
Police say that they recovered 10,000 rupees ($220), jewellery and documents from them.