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Man Held for Stealing Taxi in Shanghai
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Pudong Zhangjiang Area prosecutors have charged Zhou Xin with larceny as the suspect allegedly drove away a taxi while the driver left the vehicle running to do a quick errand.

The suspect was caught within several days because a driver who knew both Zhou and the victim saw Zhou drive the taxi away and notified the police.

Zhou, a 33-year-old Nanhui District native, used to be a taxi driver. But he left that work to become a scalper, who attracts passengers for self-employed cabbies and deducts the fee from the drivers. He found that scalpers' income was almost the same as that of a taxi driver and the work was easier.

On the morning of January 27, when Zhou was scouting for passengers in the Pudong International Airport, he saw a taxi came in without passengers. The driver went into the airport lounge with a bag of things but left the engine running. The door was also left open with the key in the car.

Prosecutors allege Zhou got into the taxi, and drove to the Dazhi River in Nanhui District and threw the car plate into the river.

A few days later, he took off a plate from another taxi that was parked on the road and put the plate on the stolen taxi. He then drove the cab to transport passengers, prosecutors said.

On February 5, the day after he began his illegal business, police detained him and seized the stolen taxi.

Police say a man surnamed Zhao saw Zhou drive the car on the day when he allegedly took the taxi as Zhao was stopped by the red traffic light.

Zhao recognized the car belonged to his friend surnamed Xu by the plate and pressed his horn to say hello. But the driver didn't have any response. Zhao then looked at the driver carefully and found it was Zhou, also an acquaintance to him.

When Zhao learned that night Xu's car was stolen, he told the police what he had seen.

(Shanghai Daily June 16, 2006)

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