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Prolific In-Flight Jewel Thief Nabbed by Delhi Police After Alleged 200 Flight Crime Spree

In a stunning turn of events, the Delhi Police have apprehended a 40-year-old man, Rajesh Kapoor, who is accused of orchestrating an audacious series of thefts aboard flights. The suspect reportedly carried out his illicit activities across at least 200 flights within a mere 110-day period over the last year. The announcement came during a media briefing by Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI), Usha Rangnani, held at Delhi’s IGI Airport.

The police have revealed that Kapoor, who was arrested in Paharganj, meticulously planned and executed his thefts, amassing a considerable amount of stolen jewelry and other valuables. An additional suspect, Sharad Jain, aged 46, was also arrested in Karol Bagh. Jain is believed to have been involved in the planned acquisition of the stolen goods.

According to authorities, the investigation was sparked by two significant thefts reported on flights in the past three months. One incident involved a passenger who lost jewelry worth ₹7 lakh during a flight from Hyderabad to Delhi on April 11. The other theft occurred on February 2, with a loss of jewelry valued at a staggering ₹20 lakh during a journey from Amritsar to Delhi.

Rangnani detailed the painstaking investigation process, which involved extensive examination of CCTV footage from both Delhi and Amritsar airports and thorough analysis of flight manifests. The key to solving the case was identifying a man seen on both flights where the thefts occurred. The suspect had provided a fake phone number when booking his tickets, but through advanced technical surveillance, the police managed to trace Kapoor’s actual phone number, leading to his capture.

During his interrogation, Kapoor reportedly admitted to being involved in five theft cases, including the incident in Hyderabad. He confessed that much of the stolen cash had been squandered on gambling, both online and offline. The breadth of Kapoor’s criminal activities didn’t stop at theft; he had a record of 11 cases, encompassing gambling and criminal breach of trust, five of which were directly related to airport crimes.

Explaining Kapoor’s methodology, a police official illuminated his predatory focus on vulnerable passengers, especially elderly women traveling internationally. Recognizing their tendency to carry valuable items in their handbags, Kapoor primarily targeted premium domestic flights like those operated by Air India and Vistara, heading to cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh, and Hyderabad.

During the chaotic boarding process, Kapoor would exploit the distraction and confusion to rifle through overhead cabins, stealing valuables from passengers’ handbags. In some instances, he strategically changed seats to position himself closer to his targets, making the most of the bustling environment to avoid detection. To further obfuscate his identity and evade law enforcement, Kapoor resorted to booking flights under the name of his deceased brother, a tactic that complicated efforts to track him.

The meticulous nature of Kapoor’s planning and execution is a grim reminder of the vulnerabilities present even in highly regulated environments like air travel. His arrest marks a significant victory for the Delhi Police, but it also serves as a cautionary tale for air travelers to remain vigilant of their belongings at all times.

The arrest unfolded when Rajesh Kapoor was finally tracked down to Paharganj, a bustling area known for its dense population and numerous lodging options—an ideal hideout for someone seeking anonymity. Upon his arrest, authorities discovered a staggering cache of stolen jewelry and other valuables, confirming the extent of his thefts. Sharad Jain, who was apprehended in the nearby commercial area of Karol Bagh, allegedly played a critical role in fencing the stolen goods.

Addressing the gathered media personnel, Deputy Commissioner Usha Rangnani expressed relief and satisfaction at the swift resolution of such a complex case. “This was one of the most challenging investigations we’ve undertaken, given the mobility of the suspect and the sophisticated means he employed to avoid detection,” Rangnani stated. “It was a combination of old-fashioned police work and modern technological tools that allowed us to apprehend Kapoor.”

The case has sparked a wider conversation about onboard security and the measures airlines might need to consider to prevent similar incidents in the future. Recommendations range from increased surveillance during critical boarding and disembarking phases to better training for flight attendants to spot suspicious behavior.

In the wake of Kapoor’s arrest, passengers have expressed a mixed sense of relief and heightened awareness. Many have taken to social media to share their stories and tips for safeguarding valuables while traveling. The incident serves as a sobering reminder that even in what is considered a secure environment, passengers must remain vigilant about their personal belongings.

As the legal proceedings against Rajesh Kapoor and Sharad Jain begin, the Delhi Police continue their investigation to trace and recover the remaining stolen items and possibly uncover other accomplices involved in this extensive criminal operation. With vigilant policing and enhanced security measures, authorities hope to prevent similar sprees in the future, ensuring safer skies for all.