In what appears to be a new modus operadi employed by chain snatchers, police have found that some culprits change clothes after every offence to avoid being detected in their next attempt.
Chain snatching in the city remains one of the biggest challenges for police with culprits, often first-time offenders, targeting women pedestrians on isolated or thinly-populated stretches.
Police have stepped up surveillance, intensified patrolling, route vehicle checks and posted decoys to prevent chain snatchings. However, culprits resort to fresh and ingenious methods to evade police. Hi-speed motorcycles with enhanced pick-up, helmets and small cutting pliers to slice gold chains are the culprits' best friends.
Of late, some police limits have discovered that culprits are using change of clothes in committing a series of chain snatchings to give police patrol teams the slip in case the previous victim alerts police on time with descriptions.
Sources with the Periamet police said that one such situation was encountered in their police limits. “Two chain snatchers were on a scooter and snatched a gold chain from two women. The victims immediately informed police with the description, including the attire of the suspects. But, patrol teams couldn't intercept them,” said an officer attached to special party.
“We later received information from specific sources that the culprits had changed their clothes placed in the scooter box after committing the crime. Many culprits have started adopting this method to escape from police. But, we are now vigilant of this as well,” he added.
While some days pass free of chain-snatching incidents, series of chain-snatching incidents are reported occasionally.
On April 23 and 24, there was a spree of incidents. Culprits fled with more than 40 sovereigns in those two days with Umamaheshwari (37), a resident of Border Thottam, Anna Salai, losing the maximum of 16 sovereigns near the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Triplicane
Recently in the Selaiyur police limits, three incidents were reported on a single day.
According to a police sources, teams under Joint Commissioners of all four zones have been mobilised to prevent crimes, especially chain snatchings.
Surprise vehicle-checks at various points even during daytime have helped bring down chain snatching throughout the city, sources said.