The crime profile in the city is changing with more of non-violent and white collar offence getting reported in the recent months, Commissioner of Police, T. Rajendran, has said.
“Of late there have been offences involving net-banking frauds, phishing mails, credit cards and impersonation…criminals have been adopting novel ways to cheat vulnerable people. The incidence of violent crimes has come down,” he said on Friday.
He said a gang that posed as officials from the Income Tax department and cheated gullible people, including businessmen, across the State since 2002 was apprehended by the North Beach police on Thursday. The suspects would pretend to have come from the IT department for raid and produce fake photo identity cards, search warrants and handcuffs.
On October 14 this year, the gang walked into a shop on Moore Street and showed their identity cards to the owner, Arif. Brandishing a fake search warrant and handcuff, they ‘raided’ the shop and took Rs. 3.3 lakh from the safe. The gang left the place after asking Arif to collect the cash from the IT office at Nungambakkam and giving a statement accounting for the cash.
“They have been cheating people in many places in Tamil Nadu since 2002. Some of the suspects were arrested in different cases. Of the gang of seven, we have arrested five. ..the kingpin is absconding.”
Mr. Rajendran said the Chennai Police had tied up with the IT Department to have a round-the-clock ‘helpline’ number to assist people in confirming whether any raid had been ordered on their premises. “In the event of any person claiming to be an IT official comes, people can call the helpline and clarify. They can also call the Police Control Room (100) and instructions have been given to rush a patrol vehicle within minutes,” he said.
Appealing to the public not to deposit any money online to persons assuring lucrative jobs, he said many complaints of cheating were received at the Commissionerate in this regard.
He said a special team working under the supervision of the Joint Commissioner of Police (North) S.S. Seshasai and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Flower Bazaar) K. Periaiah had arrested a team of three that was using fake credit cards. The accused had cheated shopkeepers to the tune of Rs. 4 lakh using 11 fake credit cards. All the credit cards were manufactured in Malaysia.
Mr. Rajendran gave Rs. 1 lakh to the family of jewel broker Suresh of Kodungayur who was found murdered on June 7. The jewels seized by police from the accused in this case were handed over to Kerala based jeweller Sunil who sponsored the fund for the education of Suresh’s two children, police said.