During regular patrolling along the rail tracks in Bhayandar, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) detected a theft of 2,960 metres of copper wire worth Rs 24.51 lakh. Twenty-nine people have been arrested in the case. While 10 stole the wires, 19 others bought it illegally. The accused were caught over a period of 20 days. The police have also recovered four vehicles in which wires were being taken. The total weight of the confiscated material is 4500 kg, which the accused sold at Rs 400-600 per kg.
RPF officials said the culprits broke the wall of a store room on Western Railway (WR) premises in Bhayandar and made a crevice only big enough for a person to crawl in. The spot was not easily visible as plants and weeds had grown around it. The WR authorities said the room was used to store all kinds of material, including copper wires used in overhead electric cables. According to sources, the first theft occurred early in August. Soon, the key accused’s jobless friends joined the slow heist.
On September 14, the RPF received the first complaint from the rail staff about the theft. Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (Mumbai, WR), Vineet Kharb said, “We caught two culprits, a thief and a receiver (buyer) on the night of September 14. This was a big theft and within 20 days we cracked the case and arrested 29 culprits. Our teams did well.”
Upon investigation, clues regarding the other accused surfaced. Five teams, including crime detection personnel, gathered intelligence, which revealed that the accused were known to each other and had taken selfies, too. One team was also sent to Rajasthan where culprits had fled.