Mumbai: Cover signal poles with barbed wire, GRP tells railways

The GRP wrote to the Railway authorities after identifying 95 poles on Central, Western and Harbour lines which have been used by thieves to climb and steal phones, handbags and other valuables from local train commuters travelling on the footboard

In a bid to try and curb the increasing number of cases of thieves climbing signal poles and stealing from local train commuters, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has written to the Railway authorities, asking them to cover the poles with barbed wire and install lights around them.

In some cases, female commuters fell off the train and lost their lives after thieves tried to pull their handbags. Police officials say installing lights around the poles will make it easy for passengers to spot the thieves and be alert. Pic for representation
In some cases, female commuters fell off the train and lost their lives after thieves tried to pull their handbags. Police officials say installing lights around the poles will make it easy for passengers to spot the thieves and be alert. Pic for representation

The GRP has identified 95 poles which the thieves used to perch on and steal cellphones, handbags and other valuables of commuters travelling on the footboard in local trains. “There are around 95 poles on the Central, Western and Harbour Lines from where thefts have taken place in the past,” said GRP Commissioner Madhukar Pandey.

The police said most such thefts take place near the Thane, Kalyan, CST, Bandra, Andheri, Vasai and Vashi station areas. The thieves perch on signal poles in the dark, ensuring that passengers can’t see them. If they see a passenger talking on the phone, they hit his or her hand with a stick, making the phone fall down.

In some cases, female commuters have fallen off and suffered severe injuries, and even died, when thieves tried to pull their bags. “We have written to the railways about the matter and are requesting them to put barbed wires on the identified signalling poles so that thieves are unable to climb them.

We have also asked for lights to be installed around the poles,” said Pandey. “If the areas around the poles are lit, passengers will be able to see the accused and be alert,” said another police officer.

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