31-year-old stole seven devices near tracks between Tambaram and St. Thomas Mt.
For over a year, a series of missing point motors on railway tracks worried Railways officials. The motor is fixed near railway tracks and is used for setting points to change the movement of trains from one track to another.
Nearly seven motors, in the absence of which the punctuality trains could be affected, were reported missing in various locations between Tambaram and St. Thomas Mount and in Ponneri.
On Tuesday, Railway Protection Force officials finally apprehended Shanmugham of Pattabiram for the series of thefts along with the scrap dealer who used to buy the equipment from him. The 31-year-old was in the habit of stealing railway equipment while returning from occasional trips to his in-laws’ house in Tambaram.
A special RPF team comprising inspectors Sridhar, Thaninayagam, Manojkumar, Adiyamaan, Kannan and Narayanan was investigating the case and was deployed at different locations based on the pattern of the crime. Earlier, tracker dogs were deployed at the sites of the thefts and finger prints were taken from there too.
On Tuesday morning, around 8.30 a.m., the officers stationed between Tambaram and Tambaram Sanatorium stations found a person moving in a suspicious manner near the track with a bag. “When the personnel checked his bag, they found railway engineering materials like fish plates and patrol clips. Tools like screw driver, spanner and an Alen key were also found in the bag,” said the officer.
During interrogation, Shanmugam confessed to stealing the motors. A construction labourer, he is the son of a employee of the signal and telecommunication department of the Southern Railway and when young, had seen his father removing and repairing the point motors
“He would visit his in-laws every week and steal the motor while returning. Hence, the thefts between Tambaram and St. Thomas Mount stations,” said the officer.
He began stealing as his income was not sufficient to run the family. He would steal the 25-kg motor between 3 and 5 a.m. and take it to an isolated location where he would remove the copper wires and parts from the motor.
“He sold the copper wires and parts to a person named Sakthivel who runs a scrap shop at Puzhal for Rs. 1,000 to 1,200. Sakthivel has also been arrested. Both have been remanded,” said the officer.