He made 200 flights in 110 days, stealing jewelery worth lakhs from passengers.

He made 200 flights in 110 days, stealing jewelery worth lakhs from passengers.

The accused owns a guest house 'Ricky Deluxe' in Paharganj, Delhi.

New Delhi:

He boarded 200 flights last year and traveled thousands of kilometers across the country for 100 days to carry out airport heists in 2023, stealing valuables from many passengers.

The Delhi Police uncovered this new pattern of theft when a woman traveling from Hyderabad to Delhi claimed last month that jewelery worth Rs 7 lakh was stolen from her handbag. The police received another complaint from a person from the US that valuables worth Rs 20 lakh were stolen from his cabin bag.

Police scanned hours of footage from airports and arrested a man named Rajesh Kapoor.

Modes of operation

Rajesh Kapoor was arrested from Delhi's Paharganj after police scanned CCTV footage from airports in Delhi, Hyderabad and Amritsar. The accused told the police how he carried out the crime for a year in one of the most secure areas of the country – airports – and managed to escape.

Delhi Police Deputy Commissioner Usha Rangrani said the man targeted passengers who were taking connecting flights. For example, in April, a woman traveling from Hyderabad to Delhi had to board an Air India flight to the US from Delhi's IGI airport.

Similarly, American resident Virjinderjit Singh was traveling from Amritsar to Frankfurt, Germany and had a connecting flight from Delhi.

The senior police official said he chose elderly and women passengers as his targets and observed their behavior at the airport. He will follow them or cleverly read the information on the baggage declaration slip to get more details about the valuables inside the bag. Police said they saw the man interacting mostly at the boarding gate, and before that, he would observe the behavior of his targets.

Police said the accused used to request the airline to change his seat so that he could be with the passenger. Sometimes, it was a coincidence, but mostly he would explain why he changed his seat.

Police added that he would often sit close to the passenger he stole from and adjust bags in the overhead section and steal jewelery and other valuables while other passengers boarded the plane.

The phone number of the accused was obtained from the airlines. However, he entered a fake number to defraud them at the time of booking, and the phone number was registered in someone else's name, ensuring he left no evidence.

'Owner of Guest House'

Rajesh owns a guest house 'Ricky Deluxe' in Delhi Paharganj near New Delhi Railway Station. The man lived on the third floor of the guest house, and the other floors were for clients. Police said he had a money exchange business and also ran a mobile repair shop in Delhi.

He stole valuables from the bags of mostly female passengers from airports like Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mumbai and Amritsar. A large quantity of gold and silver jewelery has been recovered from his house in Paharganj. However, he also revealed that on several occasions he sold the stolen jewelery to Sharad Jain, a jeweler in neighboring Karol Bagh.

The thief who boarded the flights used to steal on trains and was “successful”, police said. After being caught, the man “became silent” and later decided to plan the theft of airports.

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