Even inconsequential cable ties, a type of plastic fastener commonly used to bind hubcaps to car wheels, can help the police crack crimes.

The persons who stole cash and gold ornaments from a private bank in the heart of Attingal town on June 15 had used a particular type of cable tie as handcuffs to restrain the bank employees, one man and four women, before gagging them with adhesive tapes.

Police investigators took a hard look at the “zip ties” after other efforts to identify the suspects failed. Investigators soon found that the cable ties, which had a diameter specification of 600 mm, were available only in the Gulf.

Luckily for them, an informant of theirs told them that similar fasteners were commonly used to commit robberies in the Gulf, and a Keralite he knew had served time in a prison in Saudi Arabia after he was convicted in a “cable tie crime.”

He identified the person as Jayaprakash, 50, of Perumbavoor who had recently partnered with one Jazeer of Vamanapuram to start a goat farm at Mylamoodu, a remote forested area near Palode.

The police learned that Jazeer had had a tiff with his landlord recent, and summoned him to the nearby station house on the pretext of amicably settling the dispute. There they confronted him with the images captured by the bank’s television cameras.

R. Pratapan Nair, Deputy Superintendent, Attingal, who headed the investigation, said that Jazeer identified the rest of the accused. They were Maheendran, 45, a small-time antique dealer in Kochi; his associate Anish, 34, an accused in 14 burglaries; and Unais, 24.

He said the suspects, except Anish, were all Gulf returnees hard-pressed for cash. The accused were remanded in judicial custody.

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