Mumbai: Woman RPF official poses as decoy, makes predators turn prey
Two teenage thieves, used to stealing from hapless female commuters, ended up messing with the wrong women on Monday. When they stole a cellphone from a woman dressed as an office-goer, who had boarded the ladies compartment in a local at Tilak Nagar station, the boys had no idea that instead of being the predators, they were the prey.
Constable Anuradha Pagote in both of her avatars
They were shocked to find themselves being chased by not just their ‘victim’, but two other women and a man. Only after they were nabbed did the boys realise that the woman they had stolen from was a Railway Protection Force constable.
Laying the trap
Following several complaints of theft, especially from the first and last ladies compartments of locals, RPF Constable Anuradha Pagote, dressed as an office-goer boarded the Panvel local from Tilak Nagar station on Monday afternoon. She had been pretending to talk on the phone all through and continued to do so as she stood on the footboard of the compartment.
RPF Constable Anuradha Pagote, posing as an office-goer, pretends to be talking on her phone and boards a Panvel-bound local
As expected, two boys, 16 and 17 years old, came near the compartment, snatched the cellphone and started running towards the tracks. What followed shocked the boys, who were probably used to disappearing by the time their victims shouted for help.
As expected, the boys, aged 16 and 17, show up, snatch the phone and make a run for it
“To their surprise, I started chasing them and my other team members joined in as well. The accused jumped on the tracks and we followed them there and managed to nab both of them,” said Pagote, who is part of the Shakti team of RPF. “We all dress casually, mostly in jeans and t-shirts and so nobody ever thinks of us as policemen.
Pagote, two other female officials, and a male constable, chase the boys onto the tracks
We then try and attract the attention of thieves and catch them red-handed when they steal,” said Sub-Inspector Mamta, who helped nab the duo, along with Assistant Sub-Inspector Vineeta Shukla and constable Rajkumar Kapure. The boys were handed over to the Kurla Government Railway Police (GRP), who produced them in juvenile court yesterday.
The boys are nabbed and handed over to the GRP, who produced them in court. Illustrations/Uday Mohite
More to come
“Several complaints had come from commuters that, after rush hours, ladies compartments were being targeted by thieves who used to snatch cellphones and bags of women commuters, and so we laid a trap and managed to nab the accused,” said Sachin Bhalode, senior divisional commissioner, RPF.
RPF officials said this is just the beginning and that they have studied CCTV footage to understand how the thieves work and are planning to lay more traps. “We have seen that the first and last ladies compartments are targeted the most as the accused can flee through the tracks easily. We will be planting more decoys,” said Bhalode.