The evidence trail left in recent burglaries in Coimbatore have made police suspect that the economic downturn due to pandemic is feeding crime. Missteps such as the perpetrators not covering their faces and allowing themselves to be seen on CCTV cameras are signs that amateurs were involved, police believe.
A series of burglaries in a posh area of Coimbatore has rocked the city. Adhishtalakshmi Nagar in Kavundampalayam is lined with spacious individual houses. Several society figures have their houses here, such as former Coimbatore district collector Rajamani.
On Oct 23, burglars entered the house of Srinivasan, an industrialist who owns an ice-cream enterprise, at around midnight and decamped with jewellery of 50 sovereigns and four diamond necklaces. Srinivasan was sleeping upstairs with his family.
The burglars then entered the house of financier Shanugham. They broke into the locked house but found that the safe in the house had no valuables. Shocked, they threw things they picked up from inside the house onto the streets in anger.
The burglars did not stop there. They tried to enter other houses. They certainly seemed desperate. The residents raised an alarm following which the burglars ran away, leaving CCTV cameras to capture footage of them.
Soon after this, in Thudiyalur in the district, burglars left their mark on retired government employee Karikalan who had gone to Salem along with his family. When he returned, he found that his almirah had been ransacked. Jewellery and Rs 2 lakh cash had been stolen.
Police went to the crime scene with fingerprint experts and sniffer dogs. But the dogs couldn’t detect a trail. No other evidence could be obtained.
Some 250 sovereign jewellery has been stolen in recent cases of burglary in Coimbatore. Sai Baba Colony, Peelamedu as well as Singaranallur and other posh areas in Sulur, Karumathampatti and Thudiyalur have been targeted by burglars.
Though the burglars seem to plan their crimes, such as in targeting locked houses and entering the houses at a time suited for crime, police still believe these are amateurs who are relatively new to crime.
Police believe that youth who were working in small businesses and left jobless because of the Corona downturn may have turned to such burglaries. Some 300 such crimes have been recorded in Coimbatore in the last two years.
Despite seizing CCTV camera footage and lifting fingerprints, police have so far been unable to track down the suspects. They say that it is tougher to track down first-timers in crime since they have not been on police radar.
Coimbatore residents note that the burglaries at the five houses happened on the same day the police introduced the Sago app that is supposed to help residents communicate with the police quickly. The app is especially designed to help guard locked houses. A few days ago, burglars had targeted houses in which police officers were living. These houses were at the heart of the city in the police housing quarters.