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Commuter jumps off moving train, catches thief

Gang that hit train passengers with sticks to steal cellphones busted after commuter decides to give them a chase

Thieves hiding in the dark, attacking people who stand on the footboard of local trains is a life-threatening nuisance that has been going on for far too long. But imagine the surprise on the culprit's face, when a passenger actually jumps off a moving train and chases him.

That's exactly what happened late on Friday, when a Kalyan-resident travelling on the footboard of Mahalaxmi Express dropped his phone after being hit by a bamboo stick near Ghatkopar station.

The incident occurred at 8.45 pm, when one Sachin Marathe, who works for a private bank in Fort, was on his way home. The train was moving at a slow speed and had only just crossed the station when he felt a sharp pain and dropped his Sony Ericsson phone. Marathe, however, immediately jumped off the train to catch the thief. In all, there were three thieves, and seeing them flee, Marathe called for help.

Two constables of the government railway police (GRP) at Ghatkopar station were able to catch one of them, 19 year-old Govandi-resident Mohammad Javed Mohammad Tavarat. On interrogation, Tavarat revealed the names of his accomplices, 22 year-old Mohammad Raffique Mita Khan and Rais, whose details are not known.

Khan has been arrested. Rais is still absconding. R Kulkarni, Sub Inspector of Kurla GRP, said, "The trio has around 10 cases registered against them. They used to hide behind poles near railway tracks, and use bamboo sticks to at commuters on railway trains, in a bid to steal cell phones and bags."

Kulkarni added that gangs like Tavarat's often target commuters travelling during peak hours when they have no alternative but to stand on footboards.

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