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My Phone Was Stolen On A Mumbai Local And “It Could Happen To Any Of Us” Unless We Act Now

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By Amit Ranjan:

Yesterday while I was traveling from Malad to Andheri, my phone was pickpocketed. In my 25 years, I have traveled the length and breadth of this country but this was the first time that something of this sort happened to me. And trust me; this could happen to any one of us. Yes, your first reaction would be that I should have been more careful. But in my defense, I am quite attentive all the time. I know the ritual of keeping a tab of your wallet and phone when you are at a crowded place.

For representation only
For representation only

 

The local from Malad to Andheri, scheduled at 7:06 PM, was late, and this led to overcrowding at the station. I had my ‘crowd mode’ on and was tracking my valuables the whole time. My wallet was in my bag, and my phone was in my pocket. Then came the train. A swarm of humanity got down, and another one rushed to get in. I was one of those trying to find my place in the already crowded Mumbai local.

As I got on, I felt something around the front pocket of my jeans. I put my hands on my pocket only to find my phone gone already. I raised an alarm. I tried calling, but the phone had already been switched off. I immediately got down and reported the incident to a constable at the police post in Malad. He wrote down my name and address, and allotted me a serial number, 13.

13 is an unlucky number. Hotels don’t have any rooms with that number. I was intrigued by this number for a lot of other reasons. This number meant that 13 people had reported the loss of mobile that day at the Malad station. And for every reported case, there would be many more that go unreported. It is very likely that I was the 13th person to report the loss of a mobile to that constable that day. But let’s not be very optimistic and assume that this was only the 13th incident of the day. Malad is one of the less populous stations of Mumbai local. Even if we assume that every local station reports ten mobile thefts every day, the total comes down to 1200 mobiles every day at 120 stations.

And till now we have only accounted for the theft of mobile phones, there are also wallets, necklaces, and other valuables being stolen every day. However, I would like to stick to mobile phones for two reasons – first, I loved my phone and second, each phone comes with a unique IMEI number (IMEI Number for my dual Sim phone was 352649074836725, 352649074836733 ), and if a strong surveillance system is put in place, every stolen phone can be tracked the moment they are switched on.

The police constable at the Malad Station told me that the entire area came under Borivali Railways Police Station and hence I should travel to the Borivali Police Station with my original bill and lodge a complaint. He said that I could do that any time in the week. But I know, even if I were told to run 50 km to get my phone, I would have done that without a second thought. Firstly, I ran all over the place to locate a cyber cafe. Since I had purchased my phone through Flipkart getting the invoice was not difficult. I then ran to Borivali Police station. I traveled almost 10 km, from Malad to Borivali, and most of it was covered through a local train.

The moment I entered the police station, I was greeted by a lady constable. Alongside her were two young people who were noting down something. I could recognize the Flipkart invoice that one of them had. Soon, I realized that they too had lost their phones while boarding a train, probably at Borivali.

At the Police Station, I was given an FIR to copy the format for my complaint. From this FIR, I realized that the third gentleman had lost his phone, a Samsung Galaxy Grand, at Borivali just a few hours before me. He too lost it while boarding an overcrowded train. Did I mention that my sister lost her phone Moto G (2nd generation) earlier this year in Mumbai?

What I am getting at is that mobile theft is an organized crime in Mumbai locals, and they might all be connected to a particular network of thieves. Police should leverage the fact that phones can be tracked, unlike any other valuable items. Every stolen phone can be located if theft was considered at par with other serious crimes. The idea is not only to get the stolen phones back but also to give a clear message that all pickpockets can be nabbed and punished. Let’s make the Mumbai local ride stress free and joyous.

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  1. dushyant rathore

    Every bit of your strory is exactly same as mine. Except it was jogeshwari station. I had an iphone 6 and i bought it just a month ago. The police says that its easy to track iphones but i havent got any update from them yet and it has been 5 months now. I hope there are strict actions taken.

  2. dushyant rathore

    Every bit of your story is same as mine. Except it was jogeshwari station. I had an iphone 6 and i bought it just a month ago back then. The police says its easy to track iphones but i havent got any update from them. It has been 5 months now. Ihope there is strict action taken.

  3. Yashveer Jain

    Exactly the same date i lost my brand new HTC Desire phone in Local train between andheri and khar. It was an overcrowded train and I realised I lost the phone in bandra.

    Extremely disappointing.

  4. Kshitij B

    My Nexus 5 got stolen today…Same story as yours….Overcrowded train…phone in front pocket…just the journey stretch was from Nahur to Ghatkopar (central line)…i got to know just when i got down from the train..as a ritual..everybody checks their belongings immediately after getting down..and some dont find them in place..like it happened with me today… :(..Your point of the organised thefts is very true..this chain and circles run deep..as soon as we are a victim to such nuisance..our primary thinking is hoping to find the people related to this crime and bring a change… but sadly their ways of working must have acknowledged the same…and moved even forward with their way of doing things…making it impossible for normal..hardworking and genuine citizens to suffer from the financial and emotional stress of such act of theirs…feeling insecure from now on…

  5. Twinkle

    This 16th march 2016 .. I too had the same story like urs… I didn’t even know how he took phone from my pocket … I had iPhone 6s plus … Brand new … I went to police at vadala .. And placed an fir … M just hoping I get my mobile soon … The guy who took my phone is an hacker he has hacked my icloud and passcode … Now the police is the only hope :'(

  6. Aman Sud

    30 March 2016 . I join the club just like you guys. And what i find peculiar is that even I too got my phone stolen at Andheri. i felt a hand in my pocket, i grabbed it when another person pulled on my other arm . The first guy fled with my One plus One which the police say is getting stolen a lot. Had to travel till Mumbai Central to get the complaint registered. But the police was courteous there even though i do not know about their effectiveness. Apart from the value of the phone, there is a lot of vital data contained in the phones that can be easily misused. And it was amusing yet disheartening to see people at the station treating it as a usual thing. Hope everyone gets their phone back (including me :P). Wishing for stricter action to make the travels safer.

  7. sujit

    my iphone 6s was stolen in the train when i was travelling from borivali to santacruz and this accident took place at santacruz they stolen my phone in the rushed train and i have did the fir but no update till now

  8. Dhaval Mehta

    I guess a journey from Andheri to Malad is a hotspot for stealing mobile phones. Mine was stolen at Andheri while travelling to Malad in the morning itself. I was on my way to college.
    The situation in the police station too was exactly the same. There was a person registering his stolen phone complaint when I entered the police station. There was a similar complaint lying on the table too: same station, same platform, same journey details. Just the time and phone was different.
    But I also saw one person getting his phone back when I was registering my complaint. Just couldn’t talk to him at that time. So, probably everyone will get their phones back too 🙂

  9. Chetan Mane

    I lost my galaxy S8 in Ghatkopar metro, between sakinaka and Ghatkopar, As I was busy with my phone with earphones connected to it, between I remove earphones to talk with friend and bastards got a chance to steal it, slowly they pulled my mobile with the help of headset and easily they got success all this happen within 5 minutes, I have reported to Andheri police station but they haven’t given me FIR copy, but only gave me missing report copy. please suggest something helpful.

  10. Shreyas Kurade

    Dear sir, my name is shreyas kurade from mumbai I have lost my mobile (Vivo 1606..Y53) crown gold colour
    IMEI1-865450036961655 IMEI2-865450036961648 .My lost mobile no.9082027038 . On the date-23/12/17 at 6.30 p.m. mahape circle at Ghansoli,navi mumbai. please help me to find my mobile. My alternate no 9820829819

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