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Updated: April 11, 2013 12:32 IST

Burglars and dacoits strike at will

R. Rajaram
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FREE FOR ALL: Rs.21 lakh was looted from an ATM at Kollidam in the outskirts of Tiruchi last month. File photo: A. Muralitharan
The Hindu FREE FOR ALL: Rs.21 lakh was looted from an ATM at Kollidam in the outskirts of Tiruchi last month. File photo: A. Muralitharan

Criminals seem to have taken advantage of the situation wherein the police were busy managing the students’ agitation.

A series of burglaries and dacoity reported throughout the Tiruchi district recently appears to have dealt a blow to policing mechanism.

These offences of “grave” nature that took place within the city limits and elsewhere in the district have jolted law enforcers with the breakthrough eluding investigators. The string of property crimes comes ahead of the summer vacation – a period when such offences are usually on the rise as residents are away.

The extent of property stolen – gold jewellery, cash, and silver articles – within the last two months has been huge with culprits making a killing in every case.

Many such “grave” crimes have been reported in the jurisdiction of Tiruchi district police with the quantity of gold jewellery looted being nearly six kg while it was 25 kg in the case of silver articles and more than Rs. 35 lakh in cash.

Here is a quick recap of the offences reported in the limits of Tiruchi district police in recent times. In early February, five kg of gold jewellery, Rs. 10 lakh in cash and 20 kg silver articles were looted by burglars from a jewellery shop in Thuraiyur town. The second major offence took place at Kollidam on the city’s outskirts last month where an ATM of Punjab National Bank situated on the main road was broken open by a masked burglar who looted cash amounting to over Rs. 21 lakh. The latest grave crime was reported in Manapparai where an armed dacoits’ gang looted 90 sovereigns of gold, Rs. 4.34 lakh in cash, and five kg silver articles from the house of a rice mill owner after threatening the inmates. Burglaries were reported in Thuraiyur and Sirugambur police station limits on April 9 with the extent of gold jewellery stolen being a little over 12 sovereigns. A couple of house break-ins occurred in Srinivasa Nagar falling within the limits of the city police in March-end with culprits taking away 60 sovereigns of gold jewellery, six kg of silver articles, and more than Rs. 3 lakh in cash when the inmates were away.

In all these instances, it appears that the culprits had selected their “targets” perfectly going by the killings they had made in every case and outsmarting the law enforcers notwithstanding their deterrent action against anti-social elements time-to-time, their close vigil on criminals out of the jail, and patrolling by beat constables. Breakthrough eludes investigators in all these offences in the absence of tangible clues though teams were pursuing them continuously and sincerely, say police sources.

The release of a suspect’s photograph taken from a surveillance camera in the ATM burglary case did not seem to have provided the much-needed lead to the teams probing that case. It is not that these cases were alone in the “under investigation” stage.

A major burglary reported at a grocery shop owner’s house at Ettupattai bungalow area where culprits made away with 160 sovereigns of gold jewellery and Rs. 2 lakh in cash in mid-June last year and the murder for gain in Raja Colony within Cantonment police station limits continue to remain in the “under investigation” stage. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) S. Selvakumar said the twin burglaries at Srinivasa Nagar occurred as the law enforcers were completely busy with managing students’ agitation on the Lankan issue recently.

Manpower had been utilised for providing security at different central government offices, at airport, and passport office so as to maintain order, he said exuding hope that the cases would be cracked as the teams were continuously pursuing them. House break-ins are committed by criminals who were adept in committing such offences knowing well the time they had to strike. In the ATM burglary case, the hand of a technically savvy culprit was not ruled out by the investigators. Teams were on the job with respect to the Thuraiyur jewellery shop burglary and the Manapparai dacoity case, Superintendent of Police R. Lalitha Lakshmi said and added that special drives had been launched to prevent such offences. Sources say the involvement of first-time offenders had been noticed in many crimes over the years.

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