Mumbai, August 14: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) issued an advisory to citizens in Mumbai to be aware of robbers with razor blades hidden inside their mouths, shoes, or even their innerwear in local trains. These robbers have slashed several commuters travelling in the trains during peak hours. They even attacked some PRF officials.

“Most of the men caught for looting cellphones or cash from commuters are drug users. They are hooked to brown sugar, mephedrone or Whitener and need to make Rs 1000 to 2000 per day to fund their addiction. Besides blades, they could carry pen knives or cigarette lighters. They may even use the weapon to injure themselves so as to avert a conviction,” a senior RPF official said to Time of India.

Three men were spotted in the CCTV footage of Kurla station on August 5, around 1 pm, when they were robbing a commuter’s cellphone near a first-class coach.  The RPF officials were keeping a watch on them and waiting for them to return. On the same day, at 3:20 pm, one of the three robbers were seen again on platform 1 and was picked up. “At chowki, one of the robbers Sakir Sayed, slashed his neck with a blade that he had been hiding in his pocket,” said senior inspector Suresh Atri of Kurla RPF. Offenders may later claim, before

“At chowki, one of the robbers Sakir Sayed, slashed his neck with a blade that he had been hiding in his pocket,” said senior inspector Suresh Atri of Kurla RPF. Offenders may later claim, before a court, that the prosecuting agency had inflicted the injury on them. “We shot a video clip of Sayed where he admitted he had hurt himself. Sayed claimed he wasn’t involved in any crime and was only hanging out with a friend when he got arrested,” said Atri.

These robbers use another trick to fool the RPF. They fake an attack of epileptic fits on being arrested. An RPF officer said that Sadiq Shaikh, who was caught last month, remained coiled on the floor till we sprinkled some water on him. The officer also added that another offender, Manoj Kamble, who was caught on Saturday and when his questioning was going on, he started frothing at the mouth. But he too sat upright soon after.

CCTV grabs are compiled by the RPF to learn the different techniques used by these offenders to attack and rob people. “In some cases, a robber discreetly pokes a commuter standing at the door of a train that has just begun to move. The commuter drops his phone on the platform, as a result. The robber then picks it up and pretends he is all set to hand it to the cops while he actually pockets the device,” said an officer. These offenders also jump into a coach, along with the other co-passengers, as soon as a train arrives on the platform. These offenders steal someone’s phone in the melee and get off, and say that they have boarded a wrong train.

Gafar Ali Shaikh, a pickpocket, who has been nabbed by the Kurla GRP over and over since last year, showed a demo to investigators on how he hides a razor blade in his cheek and pulls it out whenever he has to slice a person’s pocket. An advisory is issued by the RPF that tells people to keep a check on their belongings every time they board or get down from their trains and not to use their mobiles or take out any valuables while standing at the compartment entrance.