In four out of five cases reported across city between Saturday and Monday, culprits struck wearing helmets

After a string of burglaries, a sudden spate of chain snatchings in the city has shaken law enforcers.

Between Saturday and Monday, five cases of chain snatchings were reported across the city; unknown culprits had robbed gold chains weighing a little over 48 sovereigns from women.

Two cases were reported in Thillai Nagar police station, and one each within Golden Rock, Srirangam and Fort (Crime) police station limits. Barring one, the rest took place in broad daylight throwing a challenge to authorities.

In four out of the five instances, culprits wearing helmets committed the crimes, leaving no clue for investigators. This despite regular patrol by the ‘Alpha’ police parties on motorcycles in the interior areas across the city; regular marching of beat constables; movement of patrol vehicles in their respective jurisdiction; and combing operations conducted on weekends over the past two months.

Police sources say the culprits struck from behind leaving the women in a state of shock. The most daring offence was the one at Thillai Nagar 11th cross road as it took place in the morning in an area dotted with apartments and commercial establishments.

The sources say 18 chain snatching cases were reported in the last three to four months within the city limits with seven of them having been detected. Criminals had used specific brands of motorcycles while committing such offences, says a senior police officer.

The series of chain snatchings, another official said, took place when combing operations were not conducted on Saturday night and Sunday night.

Jolted by the offences, law enforcers carried out combing operation across the city from Monday night to the early hours of Tuesday and took photographs of specific brand of motorcycles and its riders this time while checking vehicles. Sources, however, do not rule out the hand of criminals from outside the city limits behind the series of chain snatchings. Investigators also do not discount the possibility of students and rowdy elements indulging in such acts.

As a result of the offences, sources say surveillance of criminals facing trials as well as their associates has been stepped up.

The list of criminals released from various prisons across the State was being collected alongside strengthening check posts falling within the city where instances of vehicle thefts have also been reported.

Inspectors have been instructed to move randomly in their jurisdiction during day time as a crime prevention measure, say authorities.