Bike-borne snatchers are back on the city roads and stealing a march on cops.
Three days after a college girl had her forearm slashed by bike-borne snatchers on the Bypass-Patuli connector in daylight, police are yet to identify the attackers.
Two youths who had snatched the gold chain of a 78-year-old woman out on an evening stroll in Santoshpur have also managed to elude the police.
“It appears the same group was involved in both cases. But we have been unable to gather any significant clue that can lead us to the snatchers. The only information we have gathered from the descriptions of the victims is that the snatchers are youths,” said an officer of the detective department of Calcutta police.
Around 1.45pm on Thursday, the second-year college student was walking towards Garia More from the EM Bypass-Patuli connector to take an auto. Suddenly two bike-borne youths wearing full-mask helmets braked in front of her to snatch the bag slung over her shoulder.
She clung to her bag while the pillion-rider took out a blade and struck at the girl, targeting her face. In reflex, the girl raised her hand and the blade slashed her forearm.
On September 2, 78-year-old Mamata Sen was taking an evening stroll in front of her home in Santoshpur Park. Two youths on a two-wheeler stopped near her and the pillion-rider snatched Mamata’s gold chain.
After the incidents were reported to police, a team of officers from the detective department raided a number of hideouts in Sonarpur and Baruipur in South 24-Parganas but were unable to trace the goons.
“The snatchers were not from a distant place as they were riding two-wheelers. In both cases, the snatchers did not face any resistance while fleeing. We fear they may strike again,” said another officer.
The police blamed lack of manpower for their failure to identify or nab the snatchers.
“The fringes that were brought under Calcutta police two years ago suffer from poor policing. We have limited manpower and are too busy with routine work to devote time to building a strong source network,” said an officer of Patuli police station.
In September last year, bike-borne snatchers had gone on a looting spree on the southern fringes. They snatched valuables from six persons within a span of 15 days in Jadavpur, Dhakuria, Survey Park and Garfa. They even opened fire to scare away people chasing them.
The sleuths took nearly three months to track down the snatchers from different parts of the city. “The young snatchers had no criminal antecedents. During interrogation, they said that they used to snatch to buy drugs,” said an officer.