Well-dressed pickpockets on the prowl in Kolkata

INDIA - They are dressed in trendy jeans, look like students or young professionals, nodding to the music playing through earphones stuck in their ears.

But do not be fooled. What they are listening to is not a song but instructions from their fellow pickpockets on which train passengers to target, reported Makkal Osai.

The arrest of three petty criminals in the Esplanade Train station has revealed how sophisticated the age-old crime of picking pockets has become in Kolkata, North India.

The thieves always dressed well and appeared polished.

Some even carry laptop bags to fool the public.

Detectives who interrogated the pickpocket suspects said their first targets are middle-aged men as they are more affluent, and on a good day the gang could steal up to 20 high-end mobile phones.

They said that the gang starts out by "profiling" each passenger from near ticket counters to identify their potential target.

Once a potential target was identified, a member would tail him, another would distract him, while the third would do the actual picking.

Many of these pickpocket suspects also speak English.

Police said that most passengers do not lodge police reports if their pockets have been picked and this makes the criminal more confident.

Police said that with the help of the crime watch section and the Railway Patrol Police, they have a few photos of suspects and monitor them through the CCTV cameras.