In the second incident reported from the same area within three weeks, a wholesale merchant was dispossessed of Rs. 15 lakh in cash by a four-member gang on Kamarajar Salai here on Friday.

The robbery occurred in the Teppakulam police station limits. Thirty-eight-year-old Y. Sathyamoorthy was returning at the crack of dawn with a bag full of cash when his motorcycle was intercepted by a vehicle off Sourashtra Boys Higher Secondary School.

“The SUV came from behind and overtook me, and suddenly stopped in front of me.

At first, I thought it was a police vehicle. Three men got out and one of them removed the ignition key of my bike after switching off the engine. Then they yelled at me to get into their vehicle,” Sathyamoorthy told The Hindu.

Sathyamoorthy sat shellshocked as the gang snatched the bag of cash he had placed over the fuel tank, and sped away. A passing autorickshaw ignored the trader when he gestured it to stop. The gang appeared to be youthful.

The police suspect that the trader was followed by the gang from the Periyar bus stand where he had alighted from a State-run mofussil bus. But Sathyamoorthy wonders why it did not strike when he crossed the poorly-lit RMS Road from the bus stand to the railway station parking lot to pick up his motorcycle.

In a similar incident, a wholesale grocery merchant, V. Sundaravel escaped from SUV-borne robbers who tried to push him into their vehicle on the night of September 28. He was standing on his doorstep at around 10.30 pm when the gand tried to bundle him into their vehicle. But his daughter opened the front door at the nick of time and foiled the abduction bid by raising an alarm. The robbers fled, but with the trader’s bag firmly in their grip. The bag contained a laptop and the keys to his shop.

The two incidents bear striking similarities. The victims were traders with shops on Vengalakadai Street. Both live in Pankajam Colony.

SUVs were involved in both incidents, driven by a four-member gang. Commando caps were a common item of wear.

The men were well-built, the victims recall.

Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mathur said the police were yet to make a breakthrough in the two cases. “We have some leads and are following them up,” he added.

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