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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jewllery Shop burgled in Tiruppur and spate of Bank robberies in Chennai

Business is the trading of goods or services or both.  Rich become richer as where there is avenue for making money, one needs Capital for establishing an eye-capturing business house.  A Shop or a Business establishment with glittering façade attracts more customers; leading to more trade; leading to more profit; more wealth and riches.  There are many Jewellery shops as Gold and ornaments made of Gold are most sought after.  Also there is a perception that a major portion of the sales turnover does not get accounted and no tax is paid..

A Business House needs to protect itself properly.  They trade in stocks worth crores of rupees – hence the need for a proper infrastructure, monitoring mechanism and security provided by gadgets and men – armed and unarmed.  Insurance is another form of protection – but is provides indemnity i.e., places back the Insured back in the position they were prior to the loss; thus would offset the intrinsic value of the commodity lost, but would be no compensation for the ordeal, business opportunity lost etc.,

It is the ambience that strikes you most when you enter any famous Jeweller in the city.  It is big spacious, crowded with people ; you see lot of sales staff, supervisory staff, surveillance cameras – all makes you feel that every step is watched and every square inch of premises is guarded electronically and manually – perhaps that is only a perception  - make belief !

In the recent past, there have been two daring bank robberies in Chennai – now the heist at Tiruppur tops that all.  In the early hours of 21st Feb 2012,  a major burglary is reported to have occurred at a Jewellery shop run by Kerala-based Anto Alukkas group.  It is reported that the  culprits took away pure gold and diamond-studded jewellery valued at nearly Rs. 10 crore.  This is the third such incident in Tirupur in a year and the second jewellery showroom to be targeted – that has created panic among shop owners.

This incident is more shocking  as the showroom was located opposite Tirupur North police station.  Initial reports put that 36 kg of pure gold jewellery and two kg of diamond-studded gold jewellery, totally valued at Rs.10 crore, were stolen.  It is further stated that  gold jewellery, weighing around 25 kg in a locker was not taken away. The burglars had used a gas cutter to gain entry through a grill ventilator on the rear of the building.  Four gas cutters and a bag containing a few tools have been reported to have been  recovered from the scene of crime.

Surprisingly it is stated that Shop personnel switch off CCTV cameras at night  !!  Police suspect the burglary to have been carried out between 10pm on Monday and 5.30am on Tuesday (21st Feb 2012).      According to the police, the robbers created an opening in a brick-layered ventilator in the rear of the shop and cut open two iron doors using gas cutters to sneak inside. The incident was discovered on Tuesday when the staff opened the shop for business.   The shop had security Guards in front of the shop who  were clueless about the burglary. The shop didn’t have burglar alarms.

The burglars certainly had enough time and were well prepared as Gold and diamond ornaments kept on the display shelves were taken, but the silver ornaments were spared.    Located on the busy Kumaran Road, Alukkas Jewellery shares a boundary with St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, one of the oldest schools in Tirupur.  On the right side is a construction site.  Police suspect that the robbers entered the construciton site, jumped the boundary wallof the school and climbed on its roof.  From there, they accessed the UPS room of the shop - the operation would not have taken more than an hour  ~  newspaper reports state.

On Monday 20th Feb 12, in a daring day light robbery, a  gang of five armed men robbed a nationalized bank branch in Keelkattalai (off Madipakkam) and took away 14 lakhs of cash.  Only recently (23/1/12),  Bank of Baroda branch in Perungudi was robbed of  Rs.19 lakh by an armed gang.

Reports state that around  1.35pm on Monday, the robbers, apparently aged between 25 and 30, entered the Keelkattalai branch of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), posing as customers. They herded the six staff, including manager Shanmuga Sundaram, and five customers at gunpoint into the strong room and locked it before escaping with cash.  Like the earlier incident, the gang members did not even care to cover their faces and reportedly spoke Hindi.   Based on the information provided by officials and customers at the IOB branch, crime records bureau officials have generated sketches of the suspects which reportedly matches the portrait of suspects of the earlier crime. 
Photo courtesy : Times of India

At Keelakattalai branch of IOB, the gang reportedly threatened the Asst Manager and part-time sweeper at gun point before locking them and others in the strongroom. The suspects, police inquiries revealed, bundled all the mobile phones of the bank staff and the customers and placed them on a table.  The entire episode lasted less than 10 minutes. It is now stated that most  banks on the outskirts  do not  have CCTV cameras or guards.

Investigators probing that case said the robbers could have used fake firearms in both the incidents.   With high quality replica firearms and air pistols easily available in the city, no one will know for certain unless the the culprits are caught. Some fake pistols sold in toy shops are such good copies that even an expert would not be able to differentiate one from real firearm unless he holds it in his hand, an investigator said. Unlike regular handguns, fake weapons leave no evidence, making it harder for police to collect clues.
Photo courtesy : Times of India

The moot point is whether a commoner will have the guts to attempt to check whether the pistol pointed at one is real or fake ?   They talk of Toy guns, Single shot air pistols, hand guns, Sports gun and more – would a commoner ever know that there exists differences between them ?  Again it is stated that while it is too difficult to procure a real gun in Tamil Nadu, in Northern parts, it is not so difficult…………..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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