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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Now, chain-snatchers hop off bikes & knock on victim’s door

They Target Ground-Floor Flats, Chawls In Bylanes


    In a disturbing trend, emboldened motorcycle-borne thieves have now started landing up at a victim's doorstep. They call a victim out of her home on the pretext of asking for a random address. They typically target those who live in chawls and groundfloor flats of old buildings situated in narrow bylanes and quiet streets. The pillion rider keeps the victim engaged by asking confusing questions and suddenly lunges for her gold chain and quickly flees on the bike with the booty, the police told TOI. 
    The thieves have started resorting to this new modus operandi following the police crackdown on the chainsnatching menace. They have been finding escaping from highways, main roads and even deserted stretches difficult due to regular police bandobast and patrolling of vulnerable locations. Their numbers have, therefore, dwindled. (See: 'Crime on the street'). 
    "They knock on doors of residences after conducting a recce. They zero in on those who live alone or are on their own at a particular time of the day. It is our prime responsibility to safeguard women and their mangalsutra. Stern action is being taken so that the chain-snatchers remain behind bars for a longer period of time," said joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy. 
    Last Tuesday, around 9.30am, two bikers allegedly targeted Vikhroli resident Kalawati Swamy (60) and fled with her gold chain worth Rs 1.35 lakh. She lives in a ground-floor flat at Tagore Nagar society. In her complaint, Swamy said, "When I opened the door, a youth asked for some unknown person's whereabouts. He kept 
me engaged by repeatedly pointing out the address that he had scribbled on a piece of paper. Suddenly, he simply snatched my chain and ran towards a bike which was waiting outside. Both vanished before I could even shout for help." 
    Vikhroli police senior inspector Mahapat Indalkar said the biker keeps the motorcycle ready to flee at any point. "The new method of chain-snatching started after tightened police bandobast." 
    Suggesting a solution, IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh said, "Storing extensive crime records, analyzing the modus operandi, fixing responsibility on beat marshals and extensive usage of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras can go a long way in tackling this menace." 
THE NEW MODUS OPERANDI

Two bikers enter a chawl or a single building adjacent to a quiet, narrow bylane or street


The pillion rider knocks on the door of a residence occupied by a person who is alone


On the pretext of asking for an address, he engages the victim and keeps her busy


Suddenly, he lunges at her gold chain and snatches it; and speeds away on the ready bike



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