By Lata Ganapathy
On Monday, Nov.6, the special crime team of J5 Sastri Nagar Police Station retrieved pure silk Kanchipuram sarees worth Rs 2 lacs following a theft at a Besant Nagar store a fortnight back.
A Diwali exhibition at a Besant Nagar boutique was witness to an audacious gang theft in broad daylight on Oct.28. The exhibition had on display handloom Kanchipuram silk sarees, each costing upwards of Rs 20,000. Seven women clad in sarees and salwar kameez walked into the store at 4 pm in twos and spread themselves out with a clear plan which became evident in retrospect. Two of the sales staff were suspicious of their movements but could not raise an alarm due to the presence of other clients. The thieves managed to keep most of the sales staff busy at various points of the store while a few of them stole 10 expensive silks to the tune of Rs 2 lacs in two batches within a span of 10 minutes.
The CCTV footage that captured the entire incident shows two of the thieves wearing masks deftly pushing the stolen sarees into pouches in their innerskirts while standing near the store managers. They are also seen interacting with one of them. Their collective and sudden disappearance without having made any purchase raised an alarm as soon as they left the store.
CCTV footage was viewed soon after, and the theft was notified to the police. An FIR was lodged with the Crime Team at J5 Sastri Nagar Police Station and the case was handled under the direct supervision of Assistant Commissioner of Police S.Nelson. The thieves were identified the same night as being part of a bigger gang operating from Andhra Pradesh. Following a week of intrigue, twists and turns and chasing after leads, the TN Police, with the cooperation and assistance of the AP Police, were able to round up other members of the same gang near Vijayawada. The sarees were retrieved from various villages and sent by courier to Chennai on Nov.6.
Such theft of high value is in vogue at garment shops in Chennai and other Indian cities especially around festivals. While most attempts are foiled, one or two succeed but are often not reported. In this instance, the FIR was taken up seriously and the Crime Team at J2 Police Station left no stone unturned in their pursuit of the thieves. The ACP’s commitment to deliver the stolen goods saw to the success of the first part of the case, which was retrieval of the stolen goods. The police will plan their next moves with the AP police to apprehend the criminals.