A youth snatched a 36-year-old woman’s gold chain in the fenced compound of Dhakuria lake when it was teeming with walkers on Wednesday morning.
Police said the youth ran across the compound after snatching Ajitha Rajagopalan’s chain, jumped over a part of the iron fence that had bent and fled riding pillion on a motorcycle waiting for him near Menoka cinema on Sarat Chatterjee Avenue.
This was the fourth snatching in the city in the past three weeks. On two of the three earlier occasions, the snatchers had fired at the hint of resistance.
On September 27, the director-general of police, Naparajit Mukherjee, had announced the arrest of the alleged leader of the gang that the cops suspect was responsible for the three snatchings. The other members, however, are still at large.
The snatching in the Lakes occurred around 7.50am. “The youth came from behind and stood in front of Ajitha Rajagopalan, an employee of National Insurance Company, for a fraction of a second before snatching the chain and running away,” said a police officer of Lake police station.
The complaint lodged by Ajitha states the chain weighs 38gm and is worth Rs 1.2lakh.
“The lady, a regular morning-walker in the Lakes, had raised an alarm and hoped the youth on the motorcycle would catch the snatcher. She was shocked to find that the youth was actually an accomplice,” said Pallab Kanti Ghosh, the joint commissioner of police, crime.
A private guard at the Lakes quoted witnesses as saying the accomplice was wearing a helmet and waiting with the two-wheeler engine on.
Despite repeated attempts Metro could not talk to Ajitha, who lives with her husband and son in a rented flat at Lake Place, around 400 metres from where the chain had been snatched.
On September 21, three bike-borne youths had snatched the gold chain of 68-year-old Nanda Kundu at Central Park in Jadavpur, moments after she had bought flowers from a vendor. When the flower seller tried to catch the gang, one of the youths shot at him.
The next day, a youth posing as a customer at a government milk booth in Dhakuria snatched the necklace of shop attendant Shefali Dey. When the woman tried to resist, the snatcher and an accomplice fired. Half an hour later, at Survey Park, a youth asked Deepali Majumder about a fictitious man and snatched her chain when she paused to reply.
“A probe has revealed that the same gang was responsible for all three cases,” said an officer.
An unidentified youth snatched two gold bangles worth Rs 1.2 lakh from an elderly woman in the busy Howrah Maidan area minutes after she had fetched them from a bank locker on Wednesday afternoon.
Police said a youth had called Minati Kar, 67, from behind and snatched the bangles before she could react.