VELLORE: Burglars are targeting TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) outlets in the State as there are many such outlets with scant security with not only cold cash but also liquor to loot.
According to TASMAC union leaders, the number of thefts from these outlets have risen in recent months, to almost one robbery every week.
In Vellore district alone, as many as 18 robberies have been reported, besides six attempts to rob, since May. The miscreants usually drill a hole and break open the shutters of the outlet to decamp with cash and liquor. So far, about `8 lakh cash and 1,805 bottles of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) of various brands have been stolen.
It is not just Vellore district that is vulnerable. According to K P Ramu, State secretary of TASMAC Workers Welfare Association, outlets in Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chennai district are also vulnerable. At least five to six thefts are reported at TASMAC outlets every week in each of these three districts.
On most occasions, the burglars loot outlets during weekends when there is more cash in the tills.
Taking a serious note of the repeated instances of TASMAC break-ins, range DIG R Tamil Chandran and Vellore SP P K Senthil Kumari convened a meeting about 10 days ago to discuss measures to be taken to counter this.
Their efforts are bearing fruit, with the Gudiyattam police arresting a duo late on Tuesday on the outskirts of the town. The duo is allegedly behind a string of TASMAC robberies in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Cuddalore.
Police claimed that A Pandian (25) of Gudiyattam and his accomplice Mathivanan (25) of Puducherry had stolen around 650 IMFL bottles (worth `53,000) from two outlets in Latheri and Gandhi Nagar in Viruthampet on September 1 and October 22, besides helping themselves to `2.22 lakh in cold cash from a store in Melpattu, Gudiyattam on June 23.
Inspector K Saravanan said the duo would first visit the outlets as customers during the day time and hide a crowbar somewhere close to the outlet. At night, they would break open and decamp with the loot.
“Pandian, a construction worker, is an expert in breaking locks and shutters using a crowbar within a fraction of a second,” inspector Saravanan added.
The official told Express that the two are suspected of looting two outlets in Cheyyar in neighbouring Tiruvannamalai district, and many more in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts.
“We are also in the process of finding out whether they were involved in any other TASMAC robberies,” he added.