The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mobile-swipe gang in mithai shop swoop

From mobile to mithai — the festive frenzy saw a gang of goons lapping up whatever came its way on bhai phonta eve.

In the early hours of Monday, the gang raided a Ganguram shop, near the Chowringhee-Shakespeare Sarani crossing. Along with the cash box, containing Rs 15,000, the robbers fled with a feast — around 40 boxes of dry fruits, neatly gift-wrapped for Diwali.

“Priced between Rs 250 and Rs 300, the boxes are in great demand during Diwali as corporate houses gift them to clients and suppliers. They contain cashew nuts, raisins, walnuts, etc,” said Sumit Chaurasia, owner of the shop.

Not far from the sweet-shop swoop and not too long ago, the shutters of a mobile handset showroom at 20H, Park Street, were forced open and 62 imported cellphones, worth no less than Rs 7 lakh, were swiped. Police see a pattern to the shop loots and suspect the hand of the same gang.

“At the mobile phone outlet, the gang broke open the lock and the shutter with an iron rod. The scratch marks on the shutter suggest a skilled hand,” said an officer of Shakespeare Sarani police station.

But while the burglars cleaned out the display counters, they couldn’t get into room where a huge stock of cellphones was stashed.

Both the incidents were reported at Shakespeare Sarani police station on Monday afternoon. Preliminary investigation suggested that one group had conducted the twin operations between 3 am and 4 am on Monday.

Tracing a pattern to the mobile-and-mithai thefts, police said the goons probably came in a car and after laying their hands on the cellphone booty, drove down to the Chowringhee sweet shop.

“At around 6.30 in the morning, when I came to open the shop, I found that the lower end of the shutter had been twisted out of shape,” Chaurasia told Metro, at his Ganguram store.

“The shutter was very strong and I don’t know how they managed it without alerting anyone… Normally, we don’t leave cash in the shop, but since we don’t make any payments on Diwali, which was followed by a Sunday, we left some cash here to make the payments on Monday,” he added.

So, the goons got lucky — when it came to the cash — but the dry-fruit boxes, worth more than Rs 10,000, were only to be expected at this time of the year.

Private guard

pitch follows


mithai theft

Chaurasia, who says he has nev-

er heard of a sweet shop in the

city being burgled in this man

ner, is looking at the option of de

ploying private security at his

outlet on one of Calcutta's

busiest thoroughfares.

Calcutta, which can easily

lay claim to the title of 'sweet'

capital, has not recorded any

such organised theft at a mithai

shop in recent public memory,

police said. While stray cases of

shop-lifting have seen sweet

sellers intensifying vigil at their

stores, the Ganguram gang-raid

could well spark a trend of pri

vate security guards at the good

ol' mishti shop.

A Tiger patrol van of Calcut

ta Police is supposed to be doing

the rounds of the area to keep a

constant vigil in the zone that

houses some of the biggest retail

outlets and corporate offices in

the city.

And the Ganguram outlet is a

cashew nut's throw away from

Ho Chi Minh Sarani, that houses

both the British deputy high

commission and the American

consulate, two of the most high-

security addresses in town.

"The patrol van is always on

the rounds. The gang must have

observed the timings of the po

lice patrol before planning its op

eration. Otherwise, it could not

have been such a smooth exer

cise," said an officer of the local

police station. "We are trying to

identify the similarities in the

modus operandi of the two oper

ations. This would help us ascer

tain the involvement of the same

group," he added.

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