THOOTHUKUDI: Thermal Nagar police are on the search of a gang that stole over Rs 1 crore worth of copper and nickel materials along with some scrap, from the storeroom of Thoothukudi thermal power station (TTPS). Four storeroom department employees were placed under suspension following the incident.
Reminiscent of heist movie scenes, a group of 12 persons sailed around Thoothukudi Bay in a boat near the TTPS store and gained entry by drilling holes in the compound walls. They stole around 600 kg of copper scrap and 812 copper-nickel pipes (3/4 inch diameter ) worth several lakhs of rupees from the sealed room.
The incident came to light when the storekeeper found a heap of copper scrap missing from the open yard at the storeroom premises. Upon instructions from the TTPS Chief Engineer, a thorough inspection was conducted, said sources.
The theft of such a huge quantity of materials from a room that is checked and sealed daily has come as a major shocker. Moreover, the premises are completely under CCTV surveillance, and manned 24x7 by security guards.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the crime must have occurred on June 3 and 4 (Saturday and Sunday), however, the official noticed it only on June 8. "The suspects might have stayed in the store room during the weekend and meticulously rolled the copper nickel pipe into a roll, to make it easier to shift onto the boat," said an official source.
Superintending Engineer (Purchase and Administration) Raja Lakshmi has confirmed to TNIE that deputy stores officers Vijayakumar and Ganesan, and storekeepers Bagavathi and Lakshmanan have been suspended in connection with the theft. Based on a complaint, Thermal Nagar police registered a case and commenced an investigation.
*Cupronickel or copper-nickel (CuNi) is a copper alloy containing nickel elements