Postmen in Mumbai are now delivering wallets and purses, thanks to pickpockets who have got smarter and more ‘responsible’.
After removing the notes, they drop the purses and wallets — containing valuable documents like driving licences, passports or PAN cards, of no use to them — in postboxes across the city. So much so that the Returned Letter Office (RLO) at the General Post Office (GPO) has deputed a person to sort out the moneybags, with the department getting 12 to 15 every day. It has already returned passports and other documents to many, including identity cards of army and naval officers.
“This is a service that not many know about. If there is a contact number, we call them to hand over their property. If the address is there, we send across the documents free. If nothing but the name is available, we hand it over to the police,” said D.T. Singhade, RLO manager.
The department sends back passports to embassies or high commissions if they are not Indian. “Foreign travellers are difficult to trace, so we hand them over to the diplomatic missions concerned,” said A.S. Prabhu, in charge of the Correspondence Department, which handles the posted purses.
The experience had stumped the staff earlier but they are now getting used to it. “Recently, we are not getting too many passports but other identity cards and even credit cards,” said S.S. Salve, supervisor of the department. “We have received many wallets of army and naval staff, who are punished for losing their identity cards. Thankfully, quite a few got them back,” she said.
The police also coordinate with the department. “We ask them after a complaint is lodged. The priority is retrieving lost documents,” said DCP (Social Service and Enforcement Branch) Sanjay Mohite.
Pickpockets are apprehensive about using credit cards as transactions can be traced.