Feb. 5: Unidentified men broke into 12 shops a little after midnight last night at three places and looted valuables, exposing the slack security measures in marketplaces.
Altogether seven shops were looted at Gangotri market near AIDC bus stop while criminals broke the doors of two shops at Jonali on the busy RG Baruah Road. Goods in two other shops at Bhangagarh on GS Road were also stolen. Sources at Geetanagar police station said they received complaints about thieves breaking the shutters of seven shops near the AIDC bus stop and two in Jonali.
“When we reached the spot, we found the door locks of the shops broken. Shopkeepers said thieves had taken away cash and some LCD televisions,” a source said.
The shops looted at Gangotri market are — New Medical House, Dipsona Enterprise (a liquor shop), Pathak Traders, Shivam Variety, G Joint, Guwahati Neuro Clinic and Dental Clinic. The two shops looted at Jonali were New Chilarai Clinic and Animal Care Home.
Police suspect an organised gang of criminals is involved in the crime. “The robbers looted some cash and we are trying to find out the exact amount,” another source said.
Though the police claimed they have picked up some persons in connection with the three incidents, traders and local residents blamed slack policing during the night.
“How can criminals break open shops located on the roadside even as the police claim they are conducting night patrolling? If criminals can loot a shop on a prominent road, what will happen to those situated inside markets?” asked Bikash Kalita, a trader, at Jonali.
Incidentally, the shops, which were looted, did not have any CCTV cameras and there were no private security guards stationed in the market either. Traders demanded the installation of CCTV cameras across the city should be completed soon to keep proper vigil to prevent crime. “The police had started the project to install CCTV cameras in 2010 but it is yet to be completed. If all CCTV cameras are installed, criminals will be hesitant before venturing into a market,” said another trader.
A senior police officer said CID sleuths have collected fingerprints from the crime scenes and a probe was on to identify the criminals and arrest them.