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May 14, 2024

Delhi Man Arrested for Stealing Jewellery Worth Lakhs on Over 200 Flights

A 40-year-old Delhi man, Rajesh Kapoor, has been apprehended by the Delhi Police for orchestrating a series of high-profile thefts involving jewellery and other valuables from airline passengers. Over the past year, Kapoor took more than 200 flights across India, stealing items worth lakhs before finally being caught.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI) Usha Rangnani announced Kapoor’s arrest during a press conference at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Kapoor was apprehended in Paharganj, Delhi, where he had allegedly been storing his stolen goods. His arrest marks the culmination of an extensive investigation prompted by a surge in reported thefts from airline passengers over recent months.

The breakthrough in the case came after two significant incidents in the past three months. On April 11, a woman traveling from Hyderabad to Delhi reported the theft of jewellery valued at ₹7 lakh from her handbag. In another case, a man from the United States reported the loss of valuables worth ₹20 lakh from his cabin baggage. These incidents drew the attention of the Delhi Police, who formed a special team to investigate the thefts.

Investigators meticulously analyzed hours of CCTV footage from Delhi, Amritsar airports, and flight manifests, ultimately identifying Kapoor as a common presence on the flights involved in the thefts. Kapoor’s strategy involved using fake mobile numbers while booking tickets to avoid detection, making it challenging for authorities to track his movements.

Kapoor’s modus operandi was both cunning and calculated. He primarily targeted women and elderly passengers, exploiting the information available on their baggage declaration slips to identify those carrying valuables. He frequently flew premium domestic airlines such as Air India and Vistara, often on routes to destinations like Chandigarh, Hyderabad, and Delhi. To execute his thefts, Kapoor would request a seat change to sit near his targets, then use the pretext of adjusting his bags in the overhead compartment to steal from their cabin baggage. The hustle and bustle of the boarding process provided the perfect cover for his crimes.

After his arrest, Kapoor revealed he would sell the stolen jewellery to a jeweller named Sharad Jain in Karol Bagh. Jain, 46, has also been arrested in connection with the thefts. Kapoor confessed to his involvement in at least five cases, including the Hyderabad incident, and disclosed that he funded his lifestyle and gambling habits with the proceeds from his thefts. He admitted to spending significant amounts of cash through both online and offline gambling channels.

To further evade detection, Kapoor frequently booked tickets under the name of his deceased brother, a tactic that allowed him to remain under the radar of both airlines and law enforcement agencies for an extended period. His extensive travel record, totaling over 110 days and 200 flights in the past year alone, highlights the audacity and scale of his operations.

The Delhi Police’s diligent investigation and eventual capture of Rajesh Kapoor underscore the importance of vigilance and coordination in tackling sophisticated criminal activities. The arrest serves as a reminder to passengers to remain cautious and aware of their belongings while traveling.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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