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Man tracks train thief with Google Maps, recovers dad’s stolen phone

Mon 05 Feb 2024    
| 2 min read

In a fascinating tale, Raj Bhagat Palanichamy, a well-known mapper and earth observation specialist in Tamil Nadu, traced a train thief who stole his father’s bag and mobile phone using the ‘location’ shown on Google Maps. 

Details of how Palanichamy traced the thief
Sharing details of how he tracked the thief, Raj, in a thread on social media platform X, said his father had boarded a sleeper class coach on Nagercoil-Kacheguda Express at Nagercoil to travel to Tiruchi past midnight. A thief had boarded the train and after stealing his father’s bag, which had “CITU” written on it, and mobile phone. The thief then alighted the train in Tirunelveli Junction. 

Around 3.51 am, his father had called form a friend’s phone to inform him that his bag and phone were stolen. “Luckily, among immediate family members we have location sharing ‘on’ which meant I could track the location of mobile. When I checked it, I realized that the mobile was moving along the track near Melapalayam in Tirunelveli so I deduced that the thief was returning back to Nagercoil in another train,” said Raj. 

The mapper then called his friend Babin, who is also a local DMK functionary. They both informed the Nagercoil Railway Police. 

“The thief came to station in Kanniyakumari express which was heavily crowded and the only indications I had was my dad’s phone and his black bag. In the crowd, we lost him but I still was able to track him. Based on his movements, I found that he exited through the main gate and took a local bus which connects Nagercoil railway station with Anna bus stand and Vadasery Christopher bus stand. So we started our chase in bike,” he narrated. 

At the Anna bus stand, the Google Maps showed a location which was accurate to 2 metres! Spotting the bag, they confronted the thief and recovered the stolen bag and phone. The local police took him into custody. 

Thief didn’t turn off the phone
“I was lucky that the thief didn’t turn off the phone through the entire thing, I was lucky that he had to pass through Nagercoil which was my backyard, & I was lucky that I knew something about maps & how to navigate. Many of you might not like sharing location, understandable but today it helped me,” Raj posted sharing the Google Map screenshots on X. 

(This article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Brew News and The Free Press Journal)

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