Dr Amol Patra’s wife Swapna counts losses at their Sonari home on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Nothing seems to guarantee protection in Jamshedpur.
A Sonari surgeon, who has his home under camera surveillance and keeps much of his movable assets in bank locker, returned from a vacation on Thursday to find eight locks broken and valuables worth Rs 4 lakh, including a gold medal reminiscent of childhood achievements, missing.
Police have pressed their dog squad and fingerprint experts into service, but are yet to make headway in the case. The daring break-in comes close on the heels of a similar burglary at the Bistupur residence of another doctor earlier this month.
Dr Amol Patra — a general surgeon at Tata Main Hospital (TMH) — left his Baluchela Road home in Sonari for Kashmir along with his wife Swapna, two children and elderly father on May 19. The family had secured their double-storey house with eight locks, including one on the main grille gate and one on the front door.
Around 11am on Thursday, they returned to the shock of missing ornaments, including a pearl necklace worth Rs 1.5 lakh and the gold medal the doctor had earned for his academic brilliance in Class VII. Unfortunately, the two closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) installed on the property had automatically been blinded when Patra turned off the main switch before leaving for the trip.
Sonari OC Animesh Gupta, who investigated the crime site, said fingerprint probe had revealed that there were at least two burglars. “They had entered all the eight rooms in the house, but forced open almirahs only in the bedroom to clean out a booty of two gold chains, a pearl neckpiece and a gold medal,” he said.
Another policeman added that the intruders were perhaps not tech-savvy because they had left a cache of gadgets, including computers and cameras, untouched. “Only one camera was found partly damaged, more a result of poor handling than an attempt to steel it. Maybe, they were trying to figure out how it is used.”
OC Gupta said their canine investigator took a 200-metre sniff trail from the doctor’s house to Kabir Mandir, but then lost the same apparently because of a stinking nullah.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr Patra rued his bad luck. “Roughly, valuables worth over Rs 4 lakh have been stolen, but I will miss the medal the most. I had received it when I had topped Class VII at Baluchela middle school decades ago. I am stunned at the daring burglary in such a densely populated area,” he said, adding that fortunately most of his wife’s gold ornaments were safe in bank locker.
On May 15, general physician and TMH emergency head Dr Sunil Kumar had been taken by a similar unpleasant surprise when a gang cleaned out gold ornaments worth over Rs 15 lakh from his Northern Town residence. Police registered a case and arrested a person, but the booty is yet to be recovered.
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