The Kalyan railway police, on Tuesday, arrested a laptop thief who used to steal commuters' laptops on local trains. The police have recovered 17 laptops, a Nokia cell phone and Rs 5,000 cash from him.
Vasudev Balu Patil was a khalasi with the Central Railway, but was dismissed a year ago for serious negligence in his work.
PI Arun Jagtap, GRP, Kalyan, said that on January 13, 2012, a commuter, Somen Subhash Kaar, 31, a resident of Ulhasnagar lodged a complaint at the police station.
He had stated that his laptop bag was stolen from the local train between Kalyan and Vithalwadi railway stations. The bag also contained his mobile phone, debit card, railway pass and cash of Rs 5,000.
Jagtap said, "We formed a special team to trace the accused. As Kaar had mentioned a stolen mobile phone, we kept the phone under observation with the help of the mobile service provider. Three days ago, we received information from the service provider that the cell phone was in service and its location. With this information we traced the accused Vasudev Balu Patil, 22, a resident of Bhopar village, Dombivli."
He added, "Patil confessed to the crime and police recovered the laptop, debit card, railway pass and the mobile phone. He was taken into custody and during investigation, confessed to the theft of 16 more laptops.
The accused told the police that he got into a life of crime by accident. He said one day when he was travelling in the first class compartment, he picked someone else's bag by mistake. He realised something was wrong only after he had got off the train. Inside he found a laptop, which he sold, discovering an easy way of earning money.
Jagtap said most of the laptops are password-protected and it is very difficult to open them. "We are now taking the help of a technical expert so that we can find the owners of these laptops," Jagtap said.