The 100-strong group operated across the country

The Tamil Nadu police on Wednesday unearthed a notorious gang of burglars belonging to Malda district in West Bengal. At least 100-strong, the gang operated across the country striking jewellery shops, police sources said.

The revelation came from the three members of a nine-member gang that tried to steal from a jewellery shop in Dharmapuri a couple of days ago. Soon after the suspects entered the shop, the burglar alarm got activated. They cut its wires and escaped from the scene. However, police conducted combing operations in the area and managed to apprehend the three of them.

“They admitted to be part of a Malda-based gang which operated in different States mainly targeting jewellery shops. Members of this gang were involved in the Tirupur jewellery shop heist. The suspects revealed that they operated on the command of a kingpin. A major part of the booty went for development activities and a corpus fund benefitting a couple of villages in Malda district,” a senior police official told The Hindu.

Modus operandi

Inspector General of Police (West Zone) T.P. Sundaramoorthy said special teams were formed to apprehend six others involved in the burglary attempt. “Though the gang escaped from the scene of crime, the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) network had recorded their images. It helped in apprehending three suspects within hours. We have the photographs of others who entered the shop. Gold jewellery worth about Rs.15 crore was saved, thanks to the burglar alarm.”

The modus operandi of the gang was to target major jewellery shops after conducting a recce. “They dug a hole into a mobile phone shop in Dharmapuri recently thinking that it was a jewellery shop. We have clear images of the suspects and their fingerprints,” he said.

Explaining how installation of burglar alarm and CCTV helped in preventing another major attempt to loot a nationalised bank at Adalur in Dindigul district a fortnight ago, Superintendent of Police T. Jayachandran said a two-member gang broke into a branch of State Bank of India. Soon after forcing open the shutter and main door, they cut the cables of the CCTV network.

“In this case also, the burglar alarm went off. The accused escaped from the bank and cash of more than Rs.5 crore was found intact in the chest. “The images of the two suspects were recorded in the CCTV as they entered the branch premises. We got clear photographs of them…enquiries in the district revealed that the two belonged to Manjalparappu village. They were arrested and remanded in judicial custody,” Mr. Jayachandran said.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) S. George said instructions were given to all Commissioners of Police/SPs in the State to advise banks, financial institutions and jewellery shops to install CCTV/burglar alarm and employ trained private security guards.

“The burglary attempt at SBI branch in Dindigul district took place just two days after the CCTV was installed there. Such basic security measures will serve as a deterrent to criminals,” he said.

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