Burglars struck at Tondiarpet house while family was away on vacation; probe begins

A family from the city returned from a vacation in Ooty to find their house burgled and 220 sovereigns of gold jewellery and Rs. 24.5 lakh stolen.

This is the biggest burglary in Chennai in recent times.

On Sunday morning, 65-year-old Chairman Sami, a wholesale grains and groundnuts merchant, arrived at his house in Tondiarpet around 1.15 a.m. Sami and his family had been away on a holiday since Wednesday.

The two-storey house is on Pandalai Salai near Tondiarpet market. The family resides on the first and second floors, while the ground floor is used as a godown

“We opened the front door and went inside. Only when I went to the second floor did I realise that the house had been burgled. Grains were spilled everywhere and all the clothes had been thrown out of the cupboards,” said Mr. Sami.

According to police, the burglars gained entry through the terrace. They forced open the terrace door to the second floor, and then broke the locks of a few other grill doors to gain access to the living area.

“Before I left for Ooty, I locked all the cupboards and then placed the keys in a box and locked it. I then kept the box in a cupboard and locked that too,” said Mr. Sami.

The burglars however, broke open the cupboard that contained the keys.

“They opened the cupboard that had all our jewellery and looted everything. I had kept over 20 sovereigns of jewellery and Rs. 21 lakh in another cupboard, but thankfully that was not touched,” Mr. Sami added.

Police said they believed someone who knew the house and its residents had committed the crime.

“We usually sleep only after 1 a.m., and I often sleep on the terrace. I get up twice in the night to check all the locks. The crime has to have been committed by someone who knew we were not at home,” said Mr. Sami.

Police sniffer dogs and fingerprint experts were pressed into service. However, a police officer said, “The burglars have washed the entire house with water to ensure they left no fingerprints behind.”

A case has been registered and an investigation launched.

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