City police have busted a gang whose members posed as police personnel and robbed women pedestrians a total of over 100 sovereigns of gold in the last two months.
The suspects, including members of a family from Maharashtra, were of Iranian descent and spoke fluent Tamil. They were involved in 37 cases in the city.
The gang was active in the last two months and specifically targeted women pedestrians in R.A. Puram, Velachery, Adyar, Alwarpet, Anna Nagar, Pondy Bazaar, Triplicane, K.K. Nagar and parts of North Chennai. They posed as policemen, often in uniforms, and told the women that a riot or murder had taken place nearby and it was not safe to wear jewellery.
Some of the victims believed the culprits and removed the gold. The men then pocketed the jewellery on the pretext of placing it safely in the victim’s handbag. In some cases, they even orchestrated a scene where a man would come running and complain about how he was robbed in the next street as he had failed to take the culprits’ advice.
A special team under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police S. George and Additional Commissioner (North and West) P. Thamaraikannan carried out the probe. Assistant Commissioner (Thirumangalam) B. Kalitheerathan, who led the investigation, said the initial breakthrough came when a few victims identified a suspect from photographs available with the Elephant Gate police, who had recorded a similar offence in 2008.
“The suspect was identified as Jaffer Ali (28) and the clue led our team to Thane in Maharasthra. Further investigations revealed that Ali is the son of notorious fraudster Asif Sabeer Syed (50) who was involved in cheating cases in various cities in Southern India,” Mr. Kalitheerathan.
The city police team arrested Syed last Friday and his interrogation revealed a racket involving him, Ali, his father-in-law Aziz Jafri (65) and nephews Rafeeq Aziz (35) and Raja (37).
Syed was brought to Chennai and remanded to judicial custody on Monday. No recovery has been made yet. A hunt is on for rest of the members of the gang.