Staff Reporter

Beat books placed in most of the high-rise buildings in the city

Five-member gang arrested in connection with chain-snatchings

Antique sword stolen from Kowdiar palace in 2003 recovered from gang

Thiruvananthapuram: City Police Commissioner Ravada Azad Chandrasekhar has asked all Station House Officers to review the security of high-rise apartment complexes in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

The “security audit” comes in the wake of the almost simultaneous daylight burglaries in four high-rises in the city on September 3.

Mr. Chandrasekhar said the fingerprints lifted from the scene of crime, eight in all, were being compared with fingerprint data base of other police departments and the National Crime Records Bureau.

The police are yet to get a match. Investigators are inquiring whether the burglaries were carried out with help of some insider, possibly an odd job man.

Cash and jewellery valued at nearly Rs.7 lakh were stolen from the apartments. The Commissioner has directed Sub-Inspectors to verify the background of private security guards deployed at the high-rises.

He has advised flat dwellers to maintain a visitors’ register at the entry point.

Security men should allow strangers into the apartment only after checking their identification record, such as a driving licence or an election identity card.

The telephone number and address of visitors should be recorded. Flat owners should be encouraged to participate in the Resident’s Association meeting convened by the City Police at the Armed Reserve Camp on the second Saturday of every month.

The police have placed beat books in most of the high-rises. The Commissioner has also suggested joint patrolling of apartment complexes, including corridors and terrace areas, by the police and flat owner’s association representatives. The police have also suggested installation of electronic surveillance systems in high-rises.

Five held

The Commissioner said that the police prevented a series of burglaries and chain-snatchings in the city with the arrest of a five-member gang.

He identified the suspects as Sunil Gupta, ‘Tiger’ Shaji, Ajayan alias ‘Naradan’ Shibu and Kattakada Santosh. Mr. Chandrasekhar said that a team led by Circle Inspector M. Radhakrishnan Nair had arrested the suspects from different locations in the district. Four weapons, including an antique sword stolen from the Kowdiar palace in 2003, were recovered from the accused.

The police said the gang was responsible for the theft of four pieces of antique furniture and several sandalwood trees from Kowdiar palace the same year. As many as 25 chain-snatching and burglary cases have been solved with the arrest of the suspects, the Commissioner said.

The police are in the process of recovering over 20 stolen vehicles, including motorbikes and cars, based on the confession of the gang members. The gang used the vehicles mostly for smuggling spirit and also chain-snatching operations.

The Commissioner has announced rewards for Mr. Radhakrishnan Nair and his team members.