Keep valuables in bank lockers instead of leaving them at home, say police

How safe are valuables kept in locked houses? Almost a case of burglary is reported in the district, including the city, on every second day. And the most worrying part is that the robbers these days are emboldened to the extent that they strike at will the houses even if the family members are very much present.

During November alone (till November 28) 12 cases of burglary and robbery have been reported.

Two houses in Tirunagar were burgled when the family members were away to celebrate Diwali. Similarly, two other locked houses were struck by thieves at MUTA Nagar who decamped with 32 sovereigns of gold from the residence of a businessman. Burglars made good their escape with 72 sovereigns of gold from a retired engineer’s house in Pykara.

In many of burglaries in the locked houses, the culprits had the knack of breaking open not only the wooden door, but also the iron grille gates, without attracting the attention of neighbours.

If these nocturnal operations had many advantages for the thieves of not being caught, there are two incidents, where in the culprits have operated in broad daylight. Patients at a private hospital were shocked when they learnt that one of the inpatients, a retired Tahsildar was relieved of 15 sovereigns of gold by a neatly-dressed man in Karimedu police station limits. This too happened during daytime.

Here, the husband of the victim was taken for a ride by the youth, who posed as a hospital staff.

Despite getting a video grab, in which the suspect is seen walking in the hospital, the city police are yet to solve the crime. The most shocking incident was the murder of an elderly woman, M. Shenbagavalli in S.S. Colony in the afternoon of November 14. Nine sovereigns of gold and Rs.3,000 went missing from the house. The police are yet to crack the case of murder for gain.

The advice from the police is that people should keep their valuables in bank lockers instead of leaving them at home, especially when they are away. They also want the residents to make use of the locked house registry, so that the police on night beat can make a conscious vigil around these locked houses.

But, the two robbery incidents reported at Koothappanpatti near Melur on Thursday defy all practical logic. The four masked men had executed a well-planned robbery targeting newly-married women.

“It is a common practice that the jewels of the bride are not removed for at least a month after marriage. Otherwise, the groom’s parents will be accused of depriving the bride of her jewellery,” said T. Azhagi, mother of T. Rajagopal. Rajagopal and his wife, Nandhini, were forced to hand over 25 sovereigns of gold and Rs. 20,000 to the armed robbers. The ease at which they broke open strong (teak wood) doors of three houses will make residents have a second thought about the safety such doors could provide in independent houses. More attention should be given to the safety features of the house, including providing iron grille gates, well-secured compound walls, rearing of dogs and adequate lighting, a police officer said. People should alert police if they find movement of any strangers in their locality.

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