After a four-year hunt by the Tamil Nadu Railway Police, a 39-year-old man who regularly stole jewellery and valuables from AC coaches of trains has been arrested. He was finally nabbed by police officers in plainclothes aboard the Blue Mountain Express from Mettupalayam.
Shahul Hameed, who was reportedly on his way to building a hotel empire in Malaysia, proved to be the common link across a number of train robberies in Tamil Nadu and Kerala between 2016 to 2019. While he initially resisted his arrest on Friday stating that he was a businessman, he ultimately confessed and revealed his modus operandi. The police also recovered 110 sovereigns of gold worth around Rs 28 lakh from the man.
According to one report in The Hindu, Hameed spoke a number of languages including Spanish and French in addition to a Master's degree from The Netherlands. The 39-year-old man had reportedly invested the fortunes from his thievery in a hotel in Malaysia, becoming a partner of Niche Valley Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Shahul's move on Friday, however, was reportedly motivated by the desire to oust a third partner involved in the hotel business for which he was in need of money.
According to one report in the Times of India, Shahul would target wealthy-looking women. He would purchase sleeper class and second AC tickets in the same train. According to the newspaper, V Balakrishnan, DIG Railways, said, “He would arrive at the railway station at least an hour before the departure of a train and ‘select’ his victims. The second class AC compartments with curtains made it easy for him to operate. He would lift the bag, empty the valuables and place the bag at the same spot to ensure the owner didn’t suspect anything.”
The police discovered that the common link among at least 30 train robberies between 2016 to 2019 was Shahul Hameed, he had travelled in all the trains in which thefts were reported.
The globetrotter, who had visited many countries was reportedly also booked for rape by the Nagpur police in 2012. Hailing from Thrissur in Kerala, he had even maintained a detailed record of all his burglaries on his laptop. He lived in Kuala Lumpur along with his second wife Shahana who is also reportedly a partner in his hotel business.