Mumbai: RPF nabs gang of five that stole copper wires from OHE cables

Thieves who posed as construction workers and carried bamboo poles used in scaffolding carried out theft of copper wires used in overhead equipment (OHE) cables supplying 25,000 volt to trains. On May 18, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Central Railway caught this notorious gang after tracing them.

The modus operandi was stealing bamboo sticks from these construction sites after which they tied knife or cutter. Then they used to cut the anti-creep cable containing copper, which is namely used as supporting wires for the OHE cables to balance the tension.

“They used to cut the anti-creep wire that has rich content of copper. They used to carry out this theft between 2 am and 5 am,” said Shivaji Sutar, Chief PRO, Central Railway.

This gang of five used to operate in Navi Mumbai namely on sections of Belapur-Seawoods, Vashi, Rasayani-Panvel, Nerul-Juinagar and Juinagar-Ghansoli. The RPF recovered 40 meters long copper wires worth Rs 50,000. In the past, when they first started in 2019, they had stolen 75 meters of these copper wires.

This gang didn’t cut the OHE cable as it is difficult to cut. Sources said that one of the accused named Rahul Singh was caught in this operation. Soon after this other members of the gang were also rounded up and caught by the RPF personnel within 2 hours. Their modus operandi was to scout the location thoroughly a week in advance.

“They used local trains and blended with passengers during their reconnaissance. Another aspect is that they choose locations such where bamboo sticks were available easily like near construction sites, bamboo storage tents etc., so that when they are transporting the bamboos to the spot it is not detected easily in any CCTV footages,” said a RPF officer.

They tie blades to the bamboo sticks and use rubber gloves to cut the electrical wires from the OHE setup supplying 25,000 volts. Moreover, they took the local after the crime to go undetected from the CCTVs on the roads nearby. These thefts also used to cause technical failures as there would be no anti-creep wires to balance the weight of OHE.

These copper wires were sold in neighbouring states like Gujarat. Amid the lockdown, they had fled to Uttar Pradesh and had returned recently.

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