THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: District Rural police have busted a gang involved in multiple incidents of chain-snatching, and arrested seven people, including a minor student, on the charge of committing the offence within Kallambalam, Ayiroor and Parippally police station limits. The accused, include Chandu aka Sarath, 28, of Chemmaruthy; Sreekuttan aka Sreekanth, 27, of Vadasserikonam; Nandu, 18, of Njekkad; Amal, 22, of Njekkad; Akhil, 22, of Anayara and Akash, 19, of Kallambalam.
The suspects were arrested in a joint operation by Kallambalam police and rural district anti-narcotics special action force. Officers said that Sarath was the ringleader and he provided two-wheelers to other group members to snatch chains. The victims were all women-- those running small businesses, aged ones, and pedestrians.
Two tw0-wheelers that were used for committing the crimes have been recovered from the suspects. Police said that Sarath was responsible for pawning and disposing of gold ornaments.To hoodwink police and derail the probe, Sarath never targeted the same people and picked on new victims to throw cops off his trail.
Sreekanth, another suspect, had several similar cases against him and even served time in jail. Sreekanth, who features on the rowdy list of Kallambalam police, is an expert in chain snatching and he led the field operations. The police claimed that they have solved several snatching cases with the arrest of the gang. During interrogation, it emerged that the gang had snatched several chains in Ayiroor station limits, and three cases each in Kallambalam and Paripally station limits. In about three cases, the ornaments turned out to be imitation jewellery.
The police had formed a special team to nab the suspects after several incidents of chain snatching were reported from the district. The police team examined the CCTV footage collected from various parts of the district to identify the suspects. They went after drug addicts as it was assumed that the culprits would be drug abusers on the lookout for easy money to feed their habit. As police mounted pressure by closely tracking the case, the suspects fled the city and went to Ernakulam, where they stayed in a lodge. They were arrested while returning to the district to commit fresh crimes.