Sensing opportunity in Muslim households during the Ramzan period, a three-member gang broke into an apartment here and made away with 14 sovereigns of gold and Rs 2.35 lakh in cash on Tuesday, after splashing acid on a 14-year-old girl, who was alone at home.
The teen was fortunately unharmed as the gang sprayed only diluted hydrochloric acid, mainly used for household purposes.
The girl’s parents - tool shop owner Hamza Taheer Bhai Makkaty and Fareeda - were away for prayers at a local mosque at the time of the incident and the teenager was alone in the apartment on the first floor of a multi-storey commercial complex on Lingi Chetty Street in Mannady.
The girl was reportedly in the shower, when she heard strange drilling noises at the door at 7.45 pm. When she looked through the peephole, she didn’t see anyone and then opened the door. The gang then over-powered the teen and sprayed acid on her. The burglars broke open the house’s bureau and decamped with cash and jewellery. They later walked away with the loot, warning the girl not to alert anyone. At around 8 pm, the girl’s father called to check on her and learnt of the incident.
The worried couple returned home and was relieved to find their daughter safe and sound. Since the acid was too dilute and the girl was wearing glasses, her eyes were not harmed. The Class X student also appeared for her school exam on Wednesday.
The family alerted the North Beach Police station at 9.15 pm and forensic experts were pressed into service to lift evidence from the crime scene.
North Beach Inspector (Crime) S A Srinivasan told Express that the gang had planned the break-in, but were taken aback by the presence of the girl. They had planned on targeting another apartment on the second floor, but aborted the plan.The gang chose to target the house since they knew that the family would be at the mosque to break their fast, he said. The robbers had come prepared to throw acid on anyone who tried to resist them, he said. “We got 3 fingerprints from the spot of which two were of the in-mates. We are awaiting results of the last set of the fingerprints,” he said.