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Cameras catch snatch duo

Alerted and guided by closed-circuit television cameras, railway police nabbed two professional chain snatchers from Tatanagar station around midnight on Saturday, three weeks after the surveillance system that was dead beat in summer stress sprang back to life with monsoon taming the Celsius.

The duo — identified as Arif Hussain (35) and Sanjay Behra (25), both residents of Chakulia in Ghatshila subdivision of East Singhbhum — were arrested when they were stalking their prey, a middle-aged woman sporting a gold chain, on platform No. 4 of the A-category station.

According to sources in the railway police, the woman was waiting for the Howrah-Pune Azad Hind Express, which had a scheduled arrival at Tatanagar at 1.30am on Sunday, since Saturday midnight.

“As she strolled on the platform, the two men began following her. Every time she stopped, they stopped; every time she resumed walking, they did the same too. This triggered suspicion of those monitoring the CCTV control room; besides the fact that they were coming too close to the woman for comfort,” said a policeman.

Arun Kumar Singh, a relative of the woman, said she called him to say how the railway police saved her. “The men were very annoying. But, before she could think how to get them off her trail, she saw three men in uniform arrive on the platform. The duo tried to flee, but were chased and caught,” the relative said.

Currently, Tatanagar boasts 36 CCTV cameras, which are on trial run since February. In peak summer, the server in the control room at the station’s administrative building malfunctioned and the surveillance system faced unexpected hiccups before throbbing backing to life again on June 30.

Superintendent of railway police Mrityunjay Kishore confirmed that the two men, who during interrogation later confessed that they were planning to relieve the woman of her gold chain, were caught following camera alert.

“It is a first after the surveillance system was launched and indeed quite an achievement. The camera cops helped railway police reach the scene of imminent crime on time and thwart the attempt. When grilled, the arrested persons admitted that they were professional chain snatchers and had committed a number of such crimes at various stations,” Kishore said.

A senior railway police officer maintained that 54 more cameras should be installed to cover every nook and corner of Tatanagar.

“The initial proposal was for installing 90 CCTV cameras. Only 36 were put up earlier this year. We are making efforts to squeeze maximum benefit from what we have, but hope for security boost in the near future,” he said.


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