CHENNAI: Craze for smartphones has turned some juveniles to take to crimes. And, robbing mobile phones from commuters on moving trains in Chennai, is one.
Government Railway Police (GRP) has apprehended 25 juveniles for different crimes till November this year, of which two-third were held for stealing and snatching mobiles from passengers. While a majority of these minors are residents of slums adjacent to railway tracks in Chennai, five were also from Jharkhand.
According to GRP sources, these juveniles, in the age group of 15 and 18, were part of larger gangs headed by criminals in their mid 20’s. “Most of these juveniles are school drop outs and hail from fractured families. They have acquainted with criminals and joined their groups to steal mobile phones,” a senior GRP official said.
Explaining their modus operandi, sources said, a juvenile would board trains waiting for signals to enter Central railway station. After conducting recce on commuters speaking on the phone inside the compartment, he strikes suddenly, snatching away a mobile phone. Some were involved in stealing things, of which mobile phone was part of the booty.
“We have apprehended some juveniles using the stolen mobile phones, while others sold it off. Our cyber cell came in handy for tracking these cellphones,” GRP SP Vijay Kumar told ‘Express’.
In fact, GRP went a step further to identify the background of these juvenile offenders and found that most of them were drop outs from broken families and live close to railway tracks at Korrukupet in North Chennai.
GRP has also taken an initiative to facilitate the education of those interested and provide training to enhance their skills for employment in coordination with the District Child Protection Officer and Child Welfare Committee.
“Our aim is to ensure that they should not become repeat offenders. So, we had recently convened a meeting with their parents, in which various agencies including officials from Social Defence department and NGOs also took part,” Vijay Kumar added.