The outdoor units of split ACs at Kamani Centre in Bistupur. (Animesh Sengupta)
After the bee attack, copper crooks are causing Kamani Centre shop owners in Bistupur to break out in hives.
In the third such incident in six months, thieves in the small hours of Thursday made off with insulated copper wires and pipes of as many as 10 split ACs from shops.
The first two thefts occurred in September and November 2012.
This time, Kamani Centre Traders’ Association lodged a formal complaint with Bistupur police. “This was the third such theft in six months. We have reported the matter to the Bistupur police station,” said Pradeep Gupta, a trader and association member.
Despite new hypermarkets and malls in Jamshedpur, the city’s oldest commercial hub Kamani Centre is going strong due to its prime location and mix of 200 high-end shops and offices across four floors.
But the open and split-level architecture — different from big-box retail buildings of today — makes it vulnerable to trespassers and thieves.
Gupta said he feared an organised racket. “Dismantling copper wires and pipes from AC units is a specialised job that takes time. At least four to five persons are needed to execute the work,” he said.
Two private security guards deputed at night don’t help matters much.
Caretaker of the multi-storey market complex Arun Das admitted lapses on the part of the guards. “It’s true there are two private security guards deployed at night. But, in severe winter they sleep instead of making rounds. So, thieves succeed in their job,” he said.
President of Kamani Centre Traders’ Association Ajay Kumar Gupta said similar thefts had taken place at a few shops on Bistupur Main Road. “After stealing copper, they sell it at scrap yards. The police should probe into it,” he said.
Thieves sell scrap copper at Rs 300-Rs 350 a kg.
A shopkeeper who did not want to be named, said the gang should be nabbed before winter ends. “Thieves took copper from three of my split ACs. Had this been summer, my business would have been hit badly,” he added.
Bistupur police station OC A.K. Yadav promised to beef up night patrol near Kamani Centre premises.