Kochi: With the “armed robbery gang” creating panic among Kochiites, special squad of the city police began a mass co-ordinated effort to zero in on the robbers by recovering more CCTV visuals and monitoring suspicious groups from north Indian states. A 11-member group was caught arriving at a theater in Trippunithura on Friday night, hours before an armed gang struck at an isolated house at Eroor South near the town and looted nearly 50 sovereign gold ornament besides Rs 20, 000 after attacking the households.
According to sources the same group was also caught in the CCTV of a private money lending institution at Eroor on Friday morning. “The modus operandi of the thieves is different from the usual robberies. Here they target isolated houses located near railway tracks and arrive in a group of 10 or more persons. The window bars will be taken out in full from beneath using gas cutters and other instruments and the act will go unnoticed with the sound of passing trains. They also carry sharp-edged weapons and even guns,” an official said.
More CCTVs, especially that in railway stations, will be checked and the vehicle inspections at entry and exit points of the city will be tightened. “As per the information we got, a team from outside state has reached the state. They are suspected to drop in by trains late night before moving towards the target houses and also return by trains after committing the offences. We appeal the people to alert police stations upon seeing groups from other states in suspicious circumstances. We’ve already sought co-operation of residents associations in this regard,” he said.
Police teams have been despatched to Surat in Gujarat and Pune in Maharashtra as part of probe into involvement of outside gangs. "A few migrant labourers who lived near the targeted house in Eroor have been taken into custody for interrogation,” an official said. Meanwhile, the Trippunithura Rajanag-ari Union of Residents Association (TRURA) said the cops held a meet with them.
“Basically they wanted the members to be alert. They also assured us that the patrolling has been intensified. Since the gang is suspected to carry arms and have over 10 members, we’re not forcing any member associations to hold out patrolling by themselves,” said V.C. Jayendran, Secretary, TRURA. The armed robbers gang first struck at the house of an elderly couple at Pullepaddy cross road in the heart of the city on the wee hours of December 15. A day later another robbery was reported from Eroor South with the cops suspecting the same gang to be behind it.