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A man responsible for a string of robberies at Panvel railway station was caught earlier this week by the railway police. The man, who targeted passengers travelling in long-distance trains, would snatch the chains of women just as the train would begin to move, the police said. He would later sell the stolen jewellery in Kolhapur.
The accused, Umesh Kamble (25), was arrested from Panvel railway station on Monday after the police received information about him attempting another robbery on the Netravati Express. The police said they identified him using CCTV footage from the station, in which he was seen loitering near the Janshatabdi Express on September 30, when he committed his last robbery.
The railway police formed a team to investigate the rising chain snatching incidents at the railway station. “The team studied the pattern of robberies and went through CCTV footages at the station,” said Samadhan Pawar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, (Central Railway). The suspect was identified as Kamble, a Class 12 dropout from a village in Sindhudurg district. Pawar said that Kamble had stolen jewellery from passengers in five trains. The police have recovered 135 grams of gold worth Rs 2.96 lakh.
The police said that since March this year, Kamble had been targeting passengers travelling in the Janshatabdi Express, the Savantwadi-Diva Passenger, the Konkankanya Express, apart from local trains at Panvel. “The accused would steal during the evenings and targeted women sitting near the windows. He would snatch chains when the train started to move slowly and run away.
He disposed the jewellery in Kolhapur and Sindhudurg,” said Pawar. He said Kamble approached jewellers to sell the stolen goods, claiming that he needed money to pay for the treatment of his wife and children. He has been booked for theft, the police said.