The district police on Thursday cracked 41 incidents of chain snatching from women with the arrest of seven persons, including three students. The police recovered 152 sovereigns of gold, worth around Rs.42 lakh, and seven high-speed motorbikes used by them for the crimes. “Three of the gang members are students,” Madurai Rural District SP V.Balakrishnan, said.

Briefing the media here, he said among the cases solved six had been reported in the Madurai city police jurisdiction. The gang used to strike lonely women at house or those either walking alone or riding two-wheelers, and flee from the scene on the bikes after snatching their chains.

During a vehicle check, the police intercepted a speeding motorbike on Ring Road near Kappalur on Wednesday. As the two bike riders gave contradicting statements, the police grew suspicious.

During interrogation, the two bike riders confessed to their involvement in the crimes. Based on their statements, five more persons were arrested.

All the accused had become closer when they were playing cricket. The police identified them as P.Surya (23), a diploma holder, P.Karthik (21), Ashok Kumar (both students of a polytechnic college), Dilipan, a student pursuing Masters in Computer Science, Kathiravan, Ravikumar and Karthik alias ‘Mottai’ Karthik.

The students had been operating with the others for the past six months to lead a luxurious life. “Had we not arrested them, the gang members would have committed a murder. They had planned to bump off a local rowdy who had challenged one of them,” he said.

The gang members had operated in the city police limits and at Tirumangalam, Nagamalai Pudukottai, Avaniyapuram, Perungudi, Othakadai, Oomachikulam, Silaiman, Karuppayoorani and Koodal Pudur, police said.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) A. Mayilvahanan, Deputy Superintendents of Police (Tirumangalam) K.S.Ravichandran and A.Thangavel headed the special teams.

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