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  4. Delhi: Man steals passengers' jewellery, valuables in over 200 flights in a year; arrested | DETAILS

Delhi: Man steals passengers' jewellery, valuables in over 200 flights in a year; arrested | DETAILS

The accused employed a deceptive tactic - booking tickets under his deceased brother's name - to shield his identity from both airlines and the police.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Published on: May 14, 2024 11:08 IST
Delhi, Delhi Police, flights, IGI Airport, Delhi Airport, Crime news, crime stories
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Crime news: A 40-year-old man was arrested for allegedly being involved in theft of jewellery and other valuables from the handbags of co-passengers in over 200 flights in a year, Delhi Police said on Monday (May 13). The accused was identified as Rajesh Kapoor who took at least 200 flights and travelled for more than 110 days during the past year to commit thefts. He was arrested from Paharganj, where he allegedly kept the stolen jewellery, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI) Usha Rangnani told the media at the IGI airport.

He was planning to sell the stolen items to another individual, identified as Sharad Jain, 46, who was also held from Karol Bagh, she said.

How did the police take action?

The DCP said that two separate cases of thefts were reported on different flights in the last three months. A dedicated team from the IGI Airport was constituted to nab the culprits.

On April 11, a passenger lost her jewellery worth Rs 7 lakh while travelling from Hyderabad to Delhi. Another theft was reported on February 2, where a passenger had lost jewellery items worth Rs 20 lakh while he was travelling from Amritsar to Delhi.

The police checked the CCTV footage from Delhi and Amritsar airports during the probe and analysed the flight manifests, she said. The police shortlisted a suspect who was present on both flights on which theft incidents were reported, she added.

The officer said the phone number of the suspected passenger was obtained from the airlines concerned, but he had provided a fake number at the time of booking.

After technical surveillance, Kapoor's original phone number was traced, and he was caught.

Accused confesses to crime

During interrogation, the man confessed to committing  the crime in five such cases, including the one in Hyderabad, the police said.

He disclosed that he spent most of the cash on online and offline gambling.

Kapoor was found involved in 11 cases of theft, gambling and criminal breach of trust, out of which five cases were of airports. Another police officer said Kapoor would target vulnerable passengers, particularly elderly women travelling internationally.

How did he commit the crime?

"Recognising the tendency of such passengers to carry valuables in their handbags, he strategically travelled on premium domestic flights, notably Air India and Vistara, bound for destinations like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Hyderabad," the officer said.

The officer said exploiting the chaos of boarding, he would secretly rifle through overhead cabins, carefully assessing and stealing valuables from unsuspecting victims' handbags while passengers settled into their seats. On several occasions, after zeroing in on its target, he even got his seat changed from the airline to sit near the target, he said.

His method, carefully timed to coincide with the distractions inherent in the boarding process, allowed him to operate undetected.

To further evade detection, Kapoor employed a deceptive tactic - booking tickets under his deceased brother's name - to shield his identity from both airlines and law enforcement agencies.

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | UP: House help gives sleeping pills in place of medicines to elderly woman for jewellery theft; held

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