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Updated: February 4, 2013 01:02 IST

Laptop thefts in trains give jitters to passengers

M. Srinivas
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Last year, a total of 61 laptops were reported to be stolen, particularly from AC coaches

If laptops have become ubiquitous and the number of people carrying them while travelling is on a steady rise, the incidence of laptop thefts in trains too has been increasing correspondingly.

Last year, a total of 61 laptops reported stolen under the limits of Secunderabad Railway Police division itself, particularly by those travelling in the air-conditioned classes.

Police authorities claim that the thieves could be posing as fellow passengers are targeting passengers with laptops, stealing them at the first available opportunity.

Entry without reservation

Investigations have revealed that thieves enter trains without reservation and allegedly “manage” the Travel Ticket Examiner (TTE) to travel in AC coaches. Once they identify the potential prey usually found listening to music, sending emails or watching movies on laptops, they strike.

The snatch could be when the target is busy over a phone call at the door or when he goes to the toilet.

In a few cases, robbers were also successful when a passenger got off the train at a station to purchase water bottles, books or snacks by keeping their laptop on the berth.

The devices are also stolen when they are kept for re-charging at the waiting halls in the stations.

Students nabbed

Two months ago, the Secunderabad Railway Police had nabbed two Intermediate students for stealing laptops and expensive mobile phones worth over Rs.3.3 lakh.

Abhisekh Singh and Mani Dinesh Kumar used to hang around near the waiting halls to take note of passengers travelling with the laptops and later steal them.The railway police also nabbed a 50-year-old hotel worker on Thursday on the charge of stealing a laptop from a passenger on platform number 1 in Secunderabad station.

The arrested person Dilip Kumar Chowhan of Bihar had stolen the laptop worth over Rs.40,000 from a passenger Shaktivel of Chennai.

The police blame passengers negligence for the increasing thefts.

“We are managing to trace laptops with the Media Access Control (MAC) address given by the manufacturer or internet protocol number and handing them over to the complainants,” says Secunderabad Railway SP M. Kantha Rao.

Cases were also detected while interrogating suspects or by examining the footage of surveillance cameras installed at stations.

Of the 61, only eight laptops have been detected, police officials say.

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