| Eye in Sky: A CCTV camera |
Four youths involved in a series of snatching incidents, including the one near Gandhi Maidan police station on March 7, were arrested on Friday.
The gang, behind 15-20 snatching incidents in Patna, was giving the police sleepless nights. A week ago, they had had snatched a chain from a girl riding a two-wheeler with her friend near Gandhi Maidan police station. The act was caught on CCTV cameras.
As the police began investigations, they receiving another shock when, on March 9, a man pulled a chain from a middle-aged woman’s neck, crossed the road, hopped onto his friend’s bike and fled, in Boring Road area. After some time, the men were caught on camera cruising along Boring Road.
“As chain-snatching incidents spiralled, a special police team was formed under Patna city SP Jayant Kant and the probe began. The team first caught two guys with the help of CCTV footage and other inputs they received. They were identified as Rocky (22) of Kadamkuan area and Rahul (23) of Ram Krishna Nagar area. The two are experts at snatching chains, other jewellery and ladies’ bags. Two more people, Deepu of Kadamkuan and Vishal Kumar, a jeweller who has his shop in Kadamkuan, were arrested later,” Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj said.
Since the accused had a criminal history they could be identified through CCTV footage and tracking them became easier. “There is a whole gang at work and many more are yet to be nabbed. The police have recovered three motorbikes from the duo. The men would first steal the bikes and then use them to snatch chains,” the officer said.
During interrogation, the men confessed to snatching chains at Gandhi Maidan, J.P. Roundabout, Patna Market, Vishal Megamart area on Fraser Road, Buddha Smriti Park, Bhattacharya Road, near Hotel Maurya among others. They would mostly snatch gold chains, other ornaments and handbags from women travelling on foot, driving or on rickshaws. The stolen items were sold to Vishal Kumar and his father Dayanand Prasad, who owns an ornament shop at Kadamkuan, for anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 or more.
Many kinds of ornaments have been recovered from the four people. Dayanand is absconding. The police hope snatching incidents will decline in Patna following the arrests. But in quite a few cases no victims have came to lodge FIRs.
“We appeal to people to lodge FIRs. Action can and will be initiated only then,” the officer said.