Train robberies: Criminals change modus operandi

Signals being tampered with, alert chains pulled.

Hyderabad: Harish Kumar Jain was a cloth merchant who always got into long distance trains without a reserved ticket.

He used to board sleeper coaches and pay the fare difference to the TTE and secure a berth.

Months later, when Railway Police picked him up they were shocked to know his modus operandi. After settling down in his reserved seat, he used to check out fellow passengers and identify vulnerable ones. At night, Harish would wait till the other passengers fell asleep and then quickly steal their baggage. After that he used to get off at the next station.

Harish Kumar was not a thief originally. He started life as a cloth merchant. But after suffering huge losses in his business he took to crime, committing petty thefts on moving trains.

From there he graduated to creating structured blueprints to execute robberies. He used to either book a ticket online or purchase a general ticket at the counter, board a reserved coach and rob passengers.

“After entering the compartment, he used to survey other passengers and in other coaches, as all reserved coaches are connected. He used to assess financial status by checking the quality of clothes, luggage and general demeanor. After they fell asleep he used to unzip luggage kept under berths and steal valuables, which were mostly kept in small pouches. Sometimes, he used to pick up bags too. His success rate was 25 per cent,” said In-charge Railways SP Rajendra Prasad.

The other new ways to rob passengers are Signal Tampering and Alert Chain Pulling (ACP).

In signal tampering, criminals identify dark patches and vulnerable spots and then tamper with signals. Due to this the signal turns red and the train has to stop. As soon as the train stops the gang enters the train and attacks passengers.

“A month ago, a gang robbed four trains on the Madhira Vijayawada stretch. While they succeeded on three trains the security personnel on the fourth train foiled their plans and they were nabbed,” said the official.

In addition to these methods, criminals target single women with children or women sitting near doors or windows.

They often give drugs mixed in soft drinks to passengers. Pickpockets target crowds on moving trains, near ticket counters, escalators and platforms.

In Hydedrabad’s MMTS local trains they target passengers who stand at the entrance and talk on mobile phones as their attention is elsewhere.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story