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This high-flying thief criss-crossed the country robbing passengers at airports

His modus operandi was simple: wait for the opportune moment to pick up cash or cards from wallets and bags put on trays by passengers during security checks.

delhi Updated: Oct 26, 2017 07:58 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Delhi News,Flying Thief
CISF personnel during the security check at IGI Airport T3 in New Delhi. (HT File Photo/Representative image)

Rajesh Kapoor’s life, at first glance, is that of a typical high-flyer: a suave man who travels by air frequently, shops at expensive airport stores and crisscrosses the country regularly.

But Kapoor, 35, also had a secret -- he was a thief, a sophisticated one at that, who targeted air travelers and sometimes, train passengers.

Kapoor was arrested on September 30 from Mumbai after he stole cash from a Chinese national at the Delhi airport, a senior police said on Wednesday.

What emerged from his interrogation was a story fit for Bollywood, a serial offender who refused to change despite his family members putting him under ‘house arrest’ at times to prevent him from stealing.

Police said Kapoor mostly targeted fellow-fliers at airports and during flights.

His modus operandi was simple: wait for the opportune moment to pick up cash or cards from wallets and bags put on trays by passengers during security checks. On occasions he would buy clothes, change his dress at the airport and then fly off to another city.

“In one case, he even managed to steal credit cards of his co-passenger from her baggage kept in the overhead luggage bin in the aircraft. He used the same card to shop at duty-free outlets,” said Sanjay Bhatia, deputy commissioner of police (airport).

“He was caught and spent nine months in jail. When he came out, he was put under under house arrest and not allowed to move out of house. (But) one day he came out saying he is going to visit his ancestral village and went to Delhi airport to target passengers,” Bhatia added.

Kapoor was arrested in seven other cases at airports and train stations but police believe he could be involved in more such incidents.

His family said they were aware of his habit which began after he defaulted on a loan repayment.

Kapoor’s family is economically well-off; while his father is a businessman based in South Korea, his mother runs a hotel in Delhi’s Paharganj area.

“We tried to convince him to leave this habit but he didn’t listen. We cannot tie him. Because of him we get defamed,” said his mother. His father is not aware of Rajesh’s life of crime, she added.

A family member said his mother had “disowned” him because of his criminal activities. Rajesh lives with his wife away from his family.

Kapoor, who lived in Singapore and Malaysia for 2 years before returning, was into a business of selling different import goods.

Police said it was during his frequent travels he found that people are vulnerable to theft and chances of getting caught is always very less.

However, his luck ran after a Chinese national, travelling from Delhi to Mumbai, reported loss of missing of $1400 from his hand baggage.

“During scanning of CCTV footage, we found Rajesh Kapoor roaming in the same area. (Since) he was arrested by police at the IGI in January, our personnel identified him,” Bhatia said.

“Flight details were checked and we found that he departed to Mumbai by a Vistara flight. He was intercepted as soon as he landed at Mumbai airport. The stolen money was recovered from him,” he added.

In January, Kapoor stole three credit cards from a cabin bag and after landing at the Delhi airport, bought sixteen bottles of imported perfume worth $2016, police said.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 07:39 IST