Watch out for chain snatchers

Police claim that a big chain-snatching gang from Tamil Nadu has infiltrated the city ahead of festivals and religious celebrations where people gather in large numbers

Published: 24th March 2022 06:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2022 06:28 AM   |  A+A-

Illus: Express

Express News Service

KOCHI: After the state government announced a relaxation of Covid-related restrictions, temples and churches across the state are back to a festive mood. However, such venues have become a hotspot for interstate chain-snatching gangs that have returned to the district after a long time. 

The police confirmed their presence in the district after two Tamil women were arrested while trying to snatch a chain from an elderly woman from a bus near Malayattoor. Durga, 32, and Anitha, 26, were arrested by the Kalady police after a passenger complained about the theft on the bus.

The police found that the duo was involved in similar crimes in other districts as well. “There are nearly seven cases in the state against Anitha for chain-snatching alone. Anitha’s helper, Durga, was also caught for similar crimes from the neighbouring districts. These people have been living in Tamil Nadu since the Covid outbreak and now they are back after festivals resumed here,” said Siva Prasad, sub-inspector, Kalady police station. 

According to the police, many thieves have entered the district. “Normally, chain snatching gangs don’t operate with just one or two members. When we questioned the ones we caught, we come to know that a gang has already settled in Kerala ahead of temple festivals, “said the officer.

According to Kochi City police statistics, 23 chain snatchings were recorded in 2021. Though the police arrested 13 people in connection with these crimes, the suspects in 10 cases are still at large. In Ernakulam rural limit alone, 20 cases were reported in 2021. Of this, 13 cases were registered. Unfortunately, many of the accused are not from the state, which makes it harder to track them.

“Recently, we arrested a person while he was trying to snatch a woman’s chain. Upon inspecting him, we found a large sum of money and two mobile phones that he had robbed from others. Most of these gangs are working in a well-planned manner. Based on intel we have recieved, we have tightened inspections in public areas such as railway stations and bus stands. People need to be alert while travelling,” said V U Kuriakose, DCP, Ernakulam City police.

Meanwhile, a few sources  with the police said that certain ‘big guns’ are involved in the crime. “In most cases, these gangs have strong support from the top brass who bail them out,” said an officer, on condition of anonymity.


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