Mumbai Crime: Cops disguised as beggars, scrap collectors bust copper wire theft racket

Mar 14, 2018, 08:44 IST | Suraj Ojha

Cops decided to deploy this technique after over 15 cases of signal wire theft were registered in Central Railway's Mumbai division

Cops on ambush duty dress in plain clothes, put on a plastic bag and hide behind bushes and under parked trains
Cops on ambush duty dress in plain clothes, put on a plastic bag and hide behind bushes and under parked trains

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is not beating around the bush to catch culprits and curb cases of copper wire theft, but is ambushing them. The officials, often dressed in plain clothes as beggars or scrap collectors, have been hiding on the tracks to nab those trying to make a quick buck by stealing the precious copper wires, whose thefts end up disturbing the punctuality of trains.

Cops on ambush duty dress in plain clothes, put on a plastic bag and hide behind bushes and under parked trains. They decided to deploy this technique after over 15 cases of signal wire theft were registered in Central Railway's Mumbai division. On March 10, the Dadar RPF were successful in catching a thief through this method.

Cops on ambush duty dress in plain clothes, put on a plastic bag and hide behind bushes and under parked trains

How it began
According to the police, around 12.15 am that day, a signal cabin control officer noticed a signal fluctuating between Kurla and Sion railway station and immediately informed the operating control room, which in turn told the divisional security control room the exact location where they noticed the fluctuation. This protocol is undertaken whenever anyone toys with the highly valued copper wire used in signal cables.

Satish Menon, senior RPF inspector, Dadar said, "Once we were informed about this, we immediately asked our field officer to reach at the site immediately. He then found a man who was cutting the wire with the help of blade. Our officers detained him and found three pieces of 3-ft-long copper wires." The wires are worth Rs 18,000 each.

Mathura Prasad Nishad was caught stealing wires
Mathura Prasad Nishad was caught stealing wires

Did it for the alcohol
The man, identified as Mathura Prasad Nishad, 26, was then arrested. Dadar RPF registered a case against him under section 3 (a) of the Railway Property Unlawful Possession Act and 174 (c), and section 147 of the Railways Act. Nishad was stealing the wires because he needed money to buy alcohol.

Sachin Bhalode, CR's senior divisional security commissioner, told mid day, "To curb such cases, we have deployed our plainclothes staff across the section, especially where such cases have happened in the past. Over 15 cases have been reported in the past month in our division, of which three to four cases were reported at Diva, three in Karjat, two in Panvel, one in Thane and one in Dadar (where the thief was caught)."

Also read: Mumbai: Drunk couple make out at Dadar station, assault policemen

When a copper wire is stolen...
The expensive copper wire passes sensors in the signal cables. Experts from the signal department experts said it provides information regarding the presence of trains on the track. If someone steals the wires, the relay room does not get any information about the trains. Whenever such a theft happens, the 'A' mark board, which is on every signal, gets automatically activated. This also helps the motorman stop the train for a minute. Meanwhile, the relay room informs the signalling department, whose officers then rush to the site to repair the wires.

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