He Boarded 200 Flights In 110 Days, Stole Jewellery Worth Lakhs From Fliers

The accused owns ‘Ricky Deluxe’, a guest house in Delhi Paharganj.

New Delhi:

He boarded 200 flights last year and travelled thousands of kilometres in the country for over 100 days to execute robberies at airports, stealing valuables from several passengers in 2023.

The Delhi Police busted the new style of theft when a woman travelling from Hyderabad to Delhi claimed last month that jewellery worth Rs 7 lakh was stolen from her handbag. The cops received another complaint from a man from the US reporting that valuables worth Rs 20 lakh were stolen from his cabin bag. 

The police scanned several hours of footage from airports and arrested a man, Rajesh Kapoor.

The Modus Operandi

Rajesh Kapoor was arrested from Delhi’s Paharganj after cops scanned CCTV footage from Delhi, Hyderabad, and Amritsar airports. The accused told the cops how he executed the crime for a year in one of the most highly secured areas in the country – airports – and managed to escape.

Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police, Usha Rangrani, said the man targeted passengers who took connecting flights. For example, the woman travelling from Hyderabad to Delhi in April had to board a connecting Air India flight to the US from the IGI Airport in Delhi. 

Similarly, the US resident, Varjinderjit Singh, was travelling to Frankfurt, Germany from Amritsar and had a connecting flight from Delhi.

The senior cop said he chose the elderly and women passengers as his targets and used to observe their behaviour at the airport. He would follow them or slyly read the information on the baggage declaration slip to get more details about the valuables inside the bag. The police said they saw the man interact mostly at the boarding gate, and before that, he would observe the behaviour of his targets.

The police said the accused used to request the airline to change his seat so that he could be next to the passenger. Sometimes, it was a coincidence, but he mostly would give a reason to get his seat changed. 

The cops added that he would often sit near the passenger he would steal from and pretend to adjust the bags in the overhead section and steal jewellery and other valuables while other passengers were boarding the aircraft.

The phone number of the accused was obtained from the airlines; however, he entered a fake number at the time of booking to defraud them, and the phone number was registered in someone else’s name, making sure he did not leave any evidence behind.

‘A Guest House Owner’

Rajesh owns ‘Ricky Deluxe’, a guest house in Delhi Paharganj, close to the New Delhi Railway Station. The man lived on the third floor of the guest house, and the other floors were for the customers. The police said he had a money exchange business and, also owned a mobile repair shop in Delhi.

He stole valuables from bags of mostly female passengers in several operating from airports like Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Amritsar. A large quantity of gold and silver jewellery was recovered from his house in Paharganj; however, he also revealed that on several occasions he sold the stolen jewellery to a jeweller named Sharad Jain in neighbouring Karol Bagh.

The thief who boarded flights used to steal in trains and “gained success,” the police said. After getting caught, the man “went silent” and later decided to plan thefts at the airports.