Mumbai Crime: Courier boy steals customer's iPhone

Feb 10, 2017, 08:20 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

Despite producing CCTV footage as proof, victim left reeling as cops dismiss incident as non-cognisable offence, while online shopping giant tries to hush up matter by merely sacking offender

CCTV footage shows the delivery guy entering the sixth floor with a package and then running out in a hurry
CCTV footage shows the delivery guy entering the sixth floor with a package and then running out in a hurry

An online shopper looking for a steal was handed out a bitter deal after an Amazon delivery boy stole her iPhone from her desk while delivering her package. The customer alleged that while the police dragged its feet on the case and Amazon tried to hush up the matter, she had to conduct her own investigation for a week, before the company handed her the phone back.

Bindu Nair finally got her phone back yesterday, after over a week of following up with Amazon. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Bindu Nair finally got her phone back yesterday, after over a week of following up with Amazon. Pics/Nimesh Dave

The complainant, Bindu Nair (23) was at her office in Veera Desai, Andheri (W), when the incident took place on January 31. The courier boy had arrived on the sixth-floor office to deliver a package from Amazon for the office. At the time, Bindu was in the washroom, so only her colleague was there to sign the package. When the colleague went to get a pen the delivery boy quietly pocketed Bindu’s iPhone 6 from her desk. After the package was signed for, he left in a hurry.

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Bindu Nair got her phone back, but is not satisfied with the answers she got from Amazon
Bindu Nair got her phone back, but is not satisfied with the answers she got from Amazon

When Bindu returned, she found her phone missing. Certain that the delivery boy had stolen the phone, Bindu and her employer, Raoul Bangera, contacted Amazon through the company online, asking for the details of the courier company that had sent the delivery boy for the package.

Amazon staffer?
“I’ve checked the order details and see that the courier delivering the order is: Amazon Transportation Services,” said Sameera, the person chatting from Amazon’s end. This confirmed that the courier service was indeed Amazon’s, and not a third-party company.

Sameera also said that Amazon would provide the delivery boy’s details within 24 hours. But the company failed to do so. In the meanwhile, Bindu visited Amboli police station to lodge a theft complaint, while Raoul procured the CCTV footage from the office. “We went to the police station within an hour of the incident happening. We wanted to file an FIR, but the cops asked us to fill out a non-cognisable complaint,” said Bindu.

Raoul alleged that the cops were least bothered, and it was only thanks to pressure from local corporators that the cops made a call to Amazon to find the name and number of the delivery boy. However, the Amazon official allegedly refused to share the suspect’s information, claiming that they were conducting an internal investigation.

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CCTV footage
Within the next couple of day, Raoul had managed to procure CCTV footage that showed the delivery boy leaving the office premises in such a hurry that he slipped a couple of times. “When we showed this to the cops on February 7, all they did was acknowledge it,” said Raoul.

Meanwhile, Bindu had used the iPhone tracking app and traced her phone’s location to the Mahakali Caves area in Andheri East – the same place where Amazon’s transport hub is located. “Then we knew for sure that the delivery boy had stolen the phone,” said Raoul.

Amazon returns phone
According to Bindu, it wasn’t until February 7 that any concrete action was taken by Amazon. A day after they reached out to Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter, and tagged the police commissioner, Bindu got a call from the station manager at the company’s Chakala hub, informing her that she could come and collect her phone. Yesterday, Bindu, and a colleague, Bertila Rodrigues, went to collect the phone. Wary after their experience so far, they went there armed with a spy pen camera and two phones that recorded all conversation. They met someone called Anil Singh, who introduced himself as part of the security team for Mumbai and Goa. As he returned the phone to Bindu, he allegedly claimed that the courier company involved in the incident was not ATS, but a certain Wow Express.

“Amazon is trying to distance itself from the incident. They had already tracked the delivery boy, but it looks like they didn’t want any bad publicity, or people to know that such an incident had occurred,” Bindu and Bertila told mid-day.

When asked why it had taken so long to find out who the delivery boy was, Singh replied that the complaint had been sent to the wrong office, resulting in the delay. “But Amazon had stated in one of their prior emails that they had questioned a delivery boy, so we asked him whom had they questioned if the complaint was sent to the wrong office. He looked flustered and tried to change the topic. He also informed us that the concerned delivery boy is apparently named Santosh and that he had been terminated.”

Amazon says
“As a customer obsessed company, we take incidents of theft extremely seriously. We have completed the investigation on this customer complaint and terminated the contractual associate responsible for this particular incident,” said a company spokesperson in an emailed response to mid-day.

Cop speak
Asked why the authorities did not file an FIR instead of an NC, or encourage the victim to do so, senior inspector at Amboli Police Station, Bharat Gaikwad said, “I cannot share any information as I don’t know the details of the case.”

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