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Man backpack stolen as he helped co-worker off train tracks

EDISON, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey are looking for the thief who stole the backpack of a man who leaped onto train tracks to help rescue a co-worker.

Police say 34-year-old Anil Vannavalli was waiting on the Edison train station platform Friday morning when the woman fainted and fell about 6 feet on to the tracks.

Police say Vannavalli dropped his backpack and jumped on to the tracks to carry the woman to safety, along with two other men, just seconds before a train arrived. But while he was doing that, someone took the backpack, which held his laptop computer, headphones and about $200 in cash.

Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan says the theft, “perpetrated in the midst of such a selfless good deed,” seems “very disgusting and outrageous.”

The woman, Madhuri Recherla, suffered a fractured knee and broken ankle and was treated at a hospital. Recherla said she fainted because she didn’t have anything to eat or drink that morning because she wanted to make it to the train station on time.

Vannavalli said he was glad his co-worker is doing well, but he’s also “disappointed” about the theft.

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