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Lakhs lost in car break-in

A car break-in and a snatching, both in broad daylight on Tuesday, caused two victims to lose heavy sums of cash and threw residential areas of Sonari and Telco in a tizzy.

In Sonari, unknown persons broke open the front window of a car parked 300 metres from the thana to burgle Rs 2.6 lakh. In Telco, two bike-borne men snatched a bag containing Rs 90,000 from a middle-aged woman, again, only 300 metres from her home.

Around 11am, Adityapur businessmen Gopal Sharma and Vishal Singh, both in their early forties, drove to Bistupur. There, Vishal withdrew Rs 2.6 lakh in cash from HDFC Bank and kept it inside the dashboard of Gopal’s hatchback. Then, the friends drove to Sonari, where Gopal parked his car near Q Zone, a club, where they played snooker.

Around 2.15pm, after their game, they came out to find the car parked in the same place, but its left front window broken and dashboard empty of cash.

Sonari police station officer-in-charge (OC) Animesh Gupta said he had seized the car and deployed a fingerprint expert to look into it.

“The car break-in took place in a densely-populated area, so it appears that the criminals had prior knowledge of the victim’s movement. We interrogated Gopal, but Vishal said they were childhood friends and Gopal was completely above suspicion,” Gupta said.

Around the same time in Telco, Saheeda Begum (55), who had withdrawn Rs 90,000 from the neighbourhood Bank of India and kept in her bag, was walking home with her daughter Nusrat at 2.30pm. Suddenly, two bike-borne youths intercepted her, snatched the bag and zoomed off.

According to the woman’s FIR, the snatching took place between Radhikanagar and Kharangajhar areas, of Telco, and her Barinagar home was just 300 metres away.

“My daughter and I wanted to reach home fast because we were carrying the money, so we took a short cut. Suddenly, bikers wearing helmets wrenched off my bag and sped off,” Saheeda said.

Telco OC Kamleshwar Pandey said the culprits must have followed the woman and her daughter from the bank. “We are trying to find clues from CCTV camera footage inside bank premises,” he said.