Chennai

Don’t hide your house key inside a shoe!

The next time you are going out, and want to leave your house key for a roommate who has forgotten his, make sure you do not leave it hidden in the shoe rack outside or on the electricity meter box. When you return, you may find your precious electronic gadgets and other valuables missing. Gangs of youth, who target the houses of such people, are on the prowl in residential localities along Old Mahabalipuram Road.

On Sunday night, the police arrested a five-member gang, comprising a college student and graduates, on charges of stealing laptops from software engineers residing along the IT corridor for nearly a year. A total of 63 laptops were recovered from them.

Police claim that there are similar groups that target only rooms where bachelors stay. “Many IT employees leave the keys on the electricity meter boxes or in shoes left outside the house for the benefit of their roommates. The gangs target such houses easily,” says a police officer.

The equipment is then sold in the local market. “ We will be taking action against the traders soon,” the officer added.

The policemen have held meetings with the residents association and those who provide paid guest accommodation and have been creating awareness about such crimes.



Come the month of Aaadi, and chain snatchers have a field day.  In a recent incident, thieves targeted a temple conducting special Aadi festival pujas and stole gold chains from at least six women and melted into the crowd, in Selaiyur near Tambaram on Sunday evening. 

Shenbagavalli (70) told police that a thief had taken her seven sovereign gold chain. Among the other victims were Devi (30), who also lost a seven sovereign gold chain and Jaya (60). The thieves also snatched chains from three other women who did not lodge formal police complaints. 

With chain snatchers striking regularly and after widespread criticism from all quarters, the police initiated a few strategies. At least one police team with four members, including a couple of women personnel, were posted near temples and enroute during weekends, when festivals were organised. 

Despite these initiatives, the number of incidents has increased considerably. A characteristic of these incidents is the involvement of young women and students aged between 20 and 30, according to police records. . According to police, one of the major contributing factors for the rise in chain snatchings is the ease with which gold can be converted into money. Many gold finance companies have come up and these companies offer money within minutes.  Offenders, who snatch chains, approach these companies and pawn brokers and mortgage the valuables.

“There are many unorganised pawn brokers and generally, these people do not keep records.  It is very difficult to recover from pawn brokers unless an accused confesses to having sold to them,” points out the officer.



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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 1:54:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/dont-hide-your-house-key-inside-a-shoe/article7533597.ece

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