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Chain snatchers run riot

Bhubaneswar, May 7: Chain snatchers have become active on the capital’s streets once again after a brief lull. In the past two days, six snatching cases were registered in various police stations here. However, the police have not been able to arrest any of the culprits.

This time, apart from the organised criminal gangs that are involved in the snatching incidents, women too have been snatching chains from easy victims, such as children, taking advantage of unmindful parents.

The new commissioner of police of the twin cities, Sunil Roy, is having to deal with the incidents almost immediately after taking over charge from his predecessor.

Two incidents of chain snatching were registered in Capital police station and Saheed Nagar police station yesterday. In the first incident, a woman snatched the gold chain from a two-and-half-year-old girl near Unit I market while her parents were busy marketing. The girl’s father, Ramachandra Swain of Keshura on the outskirts of the city, lodged a complaint with the police.

“My wife and I were busy marketing. We noticed a woman near our toddler, but obviously did not know she would snatch away our daughter’s gold chain. By the time we noticed that the chain had been stolen, the woman had disappeared,” said Swain.

The second incident occurred at Badambadi Square in VSS Nagar, when two motorcycle-borne youths snatched a gold chain from a woman, Debapriya Jena, yesterday. She later lodged a complaint with the Saheed Nagar police.

On Saturday, four such snatching incidents were reported. In one case, the snatchers met with an accident in front of the passport office at Unit VIII while trying to escape after snatching a gold chain from a woman. But they managed to escape. The Nayapalli police seized a black-coloured bike without registration plates from the spot.

In another incident, two youths on a black motorcycle snatched a gold chain from a woman who was riding pillion on her husband’s bike near Nico Park in Unit IX on Saturday evening. The victim’s husband, Deepak Panda, registered a complaint with the Saheed Nagar police. Two other incidents were reported in VSS Nagar and Chandrasekharpur on the same day. However, the police have not been able to arrest any of the culprits.

Radhika V. Reddy, a resident of Baramunda, said she had stopped wearing her gold chain while venturing outside following a series of such incidents in the city in the past. “I had again started wearing my ornaments, but I fear I can’t anymore,” said Reddy.

Local residents blamed laxity in police patrolling as the cause for the increase in the cases in the past two days. However, the police denied such allegations saying that patrolling had been as usual.

Nitinjit Singh, deputy commissioner of police, said the culprits would be nabbed soon. “We have seized several motorbikes of the same colour and without registration. Our teams are trying to arrest the criminals involved,” said Singh.