A dog sniffs for clues at SN Tiwary’s house in Harharguttu on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Five unidentified men broke into the house of a railway official on the outskirts of the steel city and cleaned out cash and gold, together worth Rs 7 lakh, in the small hours of Thursday.
The incident took place at Prem Kunj in Harharguttu under Bagbera police station area while TTE S.N. Tiwary was on duty on board a Rourkela-bound train and his wife and 10-year-old son were sleeping in their bedroom.
The burglars first opened the lock to the grilled gate, unbolted the main door, sneaked in and locked the inhabited room from outside. They searched and found the keys to the almirah and decamped with the booty.
Tiwary’s wife Chhaya woke up around 4am and found her room locked from the outside. She cried for help, which brought neighbours rushing. They found the open and empty almirah in the other room.
Chhaya informed her husband upon his return in the morning and they lodged an FIR with Bagbera police.
OC Shailendra Kumar visited the spot and pressed a sniffer dog into service for clues. The effort, however, proved futile.
In her statement to police, Chhaya denied hearing the criminals break in.
“I sensed something was wrong only when I woke up to find my room’s door bolted from outside,” she said, adding that the burgled items included her gold ornaments, cash and a few other valuables worth over Rs 7 lakh.
Police sources said prima facie it appeared that five or more persons had committed the crime.
OC Kumar said they were investigating further. “The gang must have been tracking the family’s daily calendar. They perhaps knew when the TTE won’t be at home. We are not ruling out the role of people known to the family in the incident,” he said.
He added that raids were being conducted in identified criminal dens in adjoining areas of Harharguttu.