Chandrasekhar identifies upscale villas on the web, and sneaks in to locked houses through the rear, foxing guards manning the main gate

Internet search engines are valuable tools to collect information. Some, like Chandrashekhar of Anantapur, have found a new utility. He uses Google to identify gated communities and villas on Hyderabad’s outskirts, and burgles them!

After selecting a posh colony in Petbasheerabad – he told his interrogators once that this area had a large number of villas – he would note down the location of the main gate. While this gate would be heavily guarded, not equal attention is paid to the rear, Chandrashekhar found during recces.

The class seven drop-out would then identify vulnerable points to sneak inside the walled community. Even solar fencings don’t deter him.

“A stick is enough to lift the wires and pass through the gap,” he had revealed when caught on an earlier occasion.

He has reason to select villas. Using a steel rod or screw driver, he would remove the huge glass windows or doors that are characteristic of such villas. Chandrashekhar would then sneak inside the locked houses while the guards are busy manning the main entrance.

To prevent police from tracking him, Chandrashekhar does not rent a house in the city. Instead, he checks into a hotel and later goes to the selected colony with a friend, in a car. Upon reaching the point, the ‘villa specialist’ asks the friend to leave with the vehicle and return when he would give him a call.

He makes it a point not to take away mobile phones from the house because investigators can track him by analysing the call data record or phone location. In the past four months, Chandrasekhar has struck at least thrice in this fashion in the northern fringes of the city.

Both police and gated communities have some lessons to learn from this net-savvy burglar.

Hard work in vain

“Police have arrested 10 members of a gang responsible for 100 chain snatchings committed over two years, recovering stolen gold chains intact within 24 hours of the arrest.”

This is normally what police records say about most recoveries made by police from snatchers, burglars, robbers and dacoits.

Unconfirmed reports, however, say it requires lots of effort, planning, surveillance and action to nab such professional offenders. Recovery of stolen articles sold by gangs to different persons within and outside the State is an even more challenging task. Sometimes, it takes days and even weeks to elicit information from the suspects.

All this hard work vanishes into thin air when the accused manages to get bail within weeks of being lodged in prison. For instance, members of a notorious gang of chain snatchers from Old City came out on bail within a few weeks of police nabbing them, only to resume their activities.

It is time the police evolve a better strategy to ensure repeat offenders are put behind bars for longer durations by citing suitable legal provisions, people say.

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